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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Kiswahili and ethno-political stability in Kenya and Rwanda
Authors:Mulaudzi, Phalandwa
Mbori, Obwang'iISNI
Periodical:Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa
Geographic terms:Kenya
Subjects:Swahili language
lingua francas
language policy
Abstract:Kenya and Rwanda have experienced differing postcolonial ethno-political and multilingual developments. In the early 1990s, Kenya's peace was often punctuated by ethnolinguistically based tribal skirmishes. On the other hand, Rwanda has experienced bouts of war and social upheaval from as early as 1959, culminating in the 1994 genocide when close to one million Rwandan people were killed. Pogroms in Rwanda occurred even though the country was essentially monolingual, with Kinyarwanda as the national and official language - a fact that should ideally have served to unify the country. This article considers the role played by language in Rwanda and Kenya in highlighting postcolonial ethno-political realities. Specifically, it discusses the role that Kiswahili might have played as a common denominator, and the role as a lingua franca that it could play now, particularly with the emergence of a new breed of Kiswahili native speaker in the East and Central African region. The article further argues that the new role of Kiswahili reflects the emerging influences of globalization in the region. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]