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Dossier February 2015

Swahili, Hausa, Arabic languages

Among the African languages, Swahili is certainly the best known outside the continent. Until recently it was believed Swahili was a constructed language created by Arab and Persian merchants who have visited the east coast of Africa since ancient times (Swahili derives from sawahil, the coast). It is known that much of the Swahili vocabulary…

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African language policies

After independence, a good number of African countries opted for the colonizer’s idiom as the official language of the nation. This became also the official language of learning. Tanzania took another direction. At independence, it chose Swahili as the official language and language of learning. In Kenya, where English is the official language and Swahili…

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Lingala, a resounding language

Lingala, a Bantu language also known as mangala, was originally used by the people living on the banks of the Congo river and by smugglers, mainly between Mankanza and Mobeka and in the triangle marked by the Congo and Oubangi rivers. In this area, among many others, lived groups such as the Banunu-Bobangi, Lomongo, Mangala,…

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African Languages in a time of globalization

In Africa, there is a large number of languages, about 2,000, practically 30% of the languages spoken in the world. African languages have been classified in various ways. A generally accepted classification defines four main groups of interrelated languages. Afro-Asian. This group covers about 200 languages, with some 175 million speakers and occupies most of…

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Advocacy

10 Ways We Pretend War is Not a Crime.

Advocacy, more than economic interests, is about consciousness and knowledge. It is about building a strong democracy, holding those in power accountable. It is about…

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Baobab

Why the Hippo lives in the Water.

Many years ago the hippopotamus, whose name was Isantim, was one of the biggest kings on the land; he was second only to the elephant. The…

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Youth & Mission

Saving the Planet and Ourselves.

Australia, Philippines, California and Central and South Africa have been recently hit by severe drought and endless forest fires.  Thousands are suffering. Plants and animals perish.…

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