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Africa’s most “internationally recognized language” will soon be taught in South African classrooms.

 

Starting in 2020, schools will teach Kiswahili as an optional language, making it the first African language outside South Africa to be offered in class. The push to embrace the Swahili language comes as African countries look into plans to reform and critically assess their education systems. 

In a continent with more than 2,000 distinct languages, the role and importance of indigenous African languages in post-colonial modern societies has also proved to be a contentious issue.

Over the last few decades, the place of African languages has suffered negative consequences due to colonization, globalization, and the entrenchment of official languages like English and French. 

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