If you have ever endeavoured to learn a couple of African languages or happen to have an interest in them – of whatever nature it may be – you are surely not without knowing that locating resources can be a huge challenge…sometimes even more so here in Africa than in, say, London! Books, in particular, can be hard to come by and one would hope that the Internet becomes an instrument of promotion of African languages in the near future.
Kiswahili enjoys a considerable online presence, which is not ultimately surprising given the international dimension of the language. Below are some links to websites I have come across and have deemed worth sharing :
- News websites
BBC Swahili is an excellent reference point to follow up on East African as well as international news. It is not as comprehensive as the English site but it is still fairly well-documented. You might also enjoy the occasional audio ‘mjadala‘ (debate) that gathers participants from around the Swahiliphone world, as I like to call it.
Global Voices Online publishes blog reviews from around the world and articles about citizen media. I find it to be a great alternative source of information to traditional media.
[The Kiswahili page of Global Voices Online seems to have stalled of late, probably due to a shortage of volunteer translators.]
Word on the cyber street is that Al Jazeera is about to launch a Kiswahili channel! I don’t know about you but I am really thrilled by the prospect of watching AJ in Kiswahili.
- Learning Resources
When browsing the Swahili-language web, I always have the Kamusi Project open in a separate tab. Kamusi means dictionary and this is exactly what you can expect from this website: translation of words from Swahili to English and vice versa, alternative meanings, examples of words in context and etymology, all packed into one.
Wikipedia ya Kiswahili is the most extensive Swahili-language website I know of, gathering over 22,000 articles to date. Always a bastion of diversity, the open encyclopaedia is one of my favourite resources in Kiswahili: I often spend delightful hours hopping from one article to the next…
For those interested in Swahili culture, I recommend following @Swahili_Methali on Twitter. This tweep regularly posts Swahili proverbs along with their English translation.
Mjengwa shares news of Tanzania through poignant pictures and assorted texts.
Kisima cha Fikra is a blog expressing Reggy’s personal take on life and politics. The right menu provides a number of links to other blogs in Swahili that you might want to have a look at.
I would like to address a word of thanks to Oliver Stegen (@babatabita) for kindly introducing me to the Tanzanian blogging scene. Do check out his website as well: it is full of insightful articles beckoning you to download and read them!
The list is obviously non-exhaustive. If you feel there is a website or a blog that should be featured here, please contact me and I’ll be happy to add it to the list.