Kiswahili in the Technical Age: Lessons from Kenya’s Use of Kiswahili in the Legal and Parliamentary Registers

  • Kitula King’ei


Kiswahili is increasingly spreading globally, (Massamba 1990:3), and it is rapidly becoming more than just ordinary lingua franca in East Africa. Until recently, this important African language played a limited role in the technical fields such as science, technology, higher education or government. For instance, its use in Kenya’s National Assembly was virtually a non-issue in the colonial era. This was the situation despite the fact that since 1944 when the first African MP joined parliament up to independence in 1963, many native Kenyans had been elected or nominated into the House. Thus, the official status of English in Kenya has to date been taken for granted. This fact has for over a century no locked out Kiswahili in the key sectors of education, government, international commerce, diplomacy, science and technology.

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