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Say ‘Jambo’ to swahili

Bolokang Mmakgotso

‘New’ language gets people talking

Speaking at a memorial service for the late Tanzanian President, John Magufuli, President Mokgweetsi Masisi dropped a bombshell.

“We have introduced Swahili into our curriculum,” announced Masisi, his statement receiving thunderous applause from his Tanzanian audience, where Swahili is an official language.
Closer to home, however, and Masisi’s comments were met with bemusement.

‘When was Swahili introduced and why?’ were reactions echoed up-and down the land as The Voice took to the streets to get the peoples thoughts on a foreign language being taught in school.

Bolokang Mmakgotso (38, Gabz)

I really don’t know what to say because to me it is quite a shock to receive such news.

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I have schooled at the University of Botswana where there were many different languages such as the Chinese language and many others one could enrol in.

I, for one, am wondering what is the relevance of hurrying to teach such a foreign language, and is our Setswana language taught in these countries?

Looking at our neighbouring country South Africa, one person can know a total of seven local languages whereas here it’s very rare.

As old as I am, I only know Setswana and a bit of Kalanga and that on its own it’s shaming because there is no trace of patriotism in all this.

Katso Sibanda (21, Gabz)

There is absolutely no problem with Swahili being taught in schools.

Truth is, I have a lot of questions regarding the importance of the language to the lives of graduates.

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Katso Sibanda

I want to know if the language can be used in the real world to better the lives of graduates.

Usually a language is taught either to be used for work or to make connections at an international level.

So I want to understand if after they learn the language, will there be anything that follows regarding the significance of it?

Bosele Kgomotso (42, Gabz)

We have many local languages such as Sekgalagadi, Sekalaka and Sesarwa that represent our other tribes here at home.

I am just wondering instead of teaching foreign languages in schools, why don’t we teach these local ones.

Bosele Kgomotso

For this reason alone I do not support the introduction of Swahili at all.

Chenamani Dambe (21, Matobo)

I do not agree with the idea of Swahili being taught in schools.

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We have many different languages in our country, why can’t school-kids be taught about them?

Chenamani Dambe

How is Swahili important and why is it superior than our languages?

When and where will one ever need to speak Swahili?

Bojothe Mbulawa (19, Sekakangwe)

What is the importance of learning Swahili?

How will it benefit a Motswana?

Bojothe Mbulawa

And why Swahili all of a sudden when we have our own languages?

My self, I do not need to learn Swahili.

The people who will be taught it, how will they communicate with us who completed school because we don’t speak it!

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Itumeleng Dube (20, Matshelagabedi)

I do not have a problem with Swahili be taught in schools so students know about it.

Itumeleng Dube

Maybe after finishing school they will find jobs in Tanzania and it will be easier for them to communicate when they get there.

We have to learn other languages and not just dwell only on Setswana.

Monametsi Mosupiemang (20, Gweta)

I don’t want Swahili taught in our schools because it does not have any importance.

Monametsi Mosupiemang

We need Kalanga to be taught in schools because most of Bakalaka children are struggling with Setswana.

How can we introduce a foreign language in our country while we are still struggling with our own tongue!

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  1. Martin Blachon

    March 30, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    English is not a foreign language ? Chinese is not a foreign language ? Why africans hate themselves like that ? I come from France and I learned swahili to do business in Africa. There is a lot of business to do in Kenya and Tanzania. Many friend of mine from Africa complain about economic opportunities being taken by whites in Africa. I am not surprised when I read such reactions…

    Africans should not cry (like always) when economic opportunities will be taken by Europeans, Chineses and Indians who learned swahili in their universities. Some Africans are always backwards, that’s hilarious

  2. Chris

    April 5, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    I will have to agree with Martin on this one. There are some good reasons to learn the language as its a very common language spoken in the upper parts of Africa. In that way of thinking we can facilitate more Intra-Africa Trade which should be beneficial to Africans. It has also been introduced to South African schools as well.

    Regarding local languages, there needs to be some way to preserve them but sadly their use in the larger global context is limited. This is not just an issue with Botswana but with many countries as English is still the most prevalent of languages.

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