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United Nations Declares 7 July As World Kiswahili Day

The United Nations has declared 7 July each year as the world’s official day to celebrate the Swahili language. It is the first African language to be recognised by the UN and have its own day of celebration. Swahili is also the only African language to have been officially recognised by the African Union. Swahili, also known by its native name Kiswahili, is a Bantu language and the native language of the Swahili people.The exact number of Swahili speakers, be they native or second-language speakers, is estimated to be between 100 million to 200 million.

In 2018, South Africa legalised the teaching of Swahili in schools as an optional subject to begin in 2020. Botswana followed in 2020, and Namibia plans to introduce the language as well. Shikomor (or Comorian), an official language in Comoros and also spoken in Mayotte (Shimaore), is closely related to Swahili and is sometimes considered a dialect of Swahili.

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