PRETORIA-- Beginning in 2020, South African students will have the option to take up Kiswahili as an optional second additional language, says Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga/

Kiswahili is a Bantu language with lexical and linguistic similarities with many African languages and is a lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and southeastern Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

It is the third most spoken language in Africa, with more than 100 million speakers after English and Arabic.

The Minister said here Monday that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), at its meeting here last week, had approved the listing of Kiswahili as a language to be offered to students.

There are currently 15 non-official languages listed in the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) as optional subjects, including French, German and Mandarin.

There is unfortunately no African language in the list of languages. The origin of all these languages is outside the continent, except for Arabic, the Afro-Asiatic language family, which is spoken by North African Arabic countries. This continues to perpetuate colonial mentality and necessitated us to take action and rectify this, she said.

Motshekga said the introduction of Kiswahili in South African schools will help to promote social cohesion among Africans.


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