South African schools will start teaching Kiswahili language following an agreement between Pretoria and Nairobi on Thursday, it has emerged.
This precedes Thursday's meeting in which the Cabinet Secretary of Education Prof George Magoha and South African Minister for Basic Education Angelina Matsie Motshekga signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the respective countries.
Last year, Ms Motshekga, revealed that plans were in place to have the subject introduced in all schools as part of basic education, adding that the Kiswahili language is widely spoken in Africa.
In South Africa, Afrikaaner, English, Dutch, Zulu, Khosa and Sotho are among widely spoken languages. English is the official language of the country.
“Kiswahili is one of the most spoken languages in Africa after Arabic and English; and could expand to countries that have never spoken it before and as a result draw Africans closer together,” said Motshekga.
Economic Freedom Fighters party leader Julius Malema has also been pushing for Africa to adopt Kiswahili language as the common language that can unite Africans.
“We need to start doing away with those things. Maybe not in our generation, but in generations to come, we must develop a common language that can be used throughout the continent. Like Swahili, if it can be developed as the language of the continent,” Malema said.
Apart from Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar, Kiswahili is spoken in parts of Uganda, DRC Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique and South African nations of Zambia and Zimbabwe.