Dar es Salaam. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan has argued that Kiswahili has an important role to play in efforts towards achieving industrialization of Tanzania’s economy.
She said the language is an important tool of conducting business communications in the entire region.
The VP said it was even more encouraging to see that the language was spread fast in other parts of the continent, particularly among member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), hence opening more opportunities for Tanzanians in those countries.
She made the observations on Friday, February 15 during the 2018 Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature awarding ceremony which took place in the city.
“It means, we must invest adequately in the language. No foreigner can fill in in this void, it’s up to Tanzanians to make this happen,” she insisted.
For his part, Industry and Trade minister George Kakunda stated that Kiswahili holds huge economic potentials in the country.
During the ceremony, two authors from Tanzania and Kenya were announced winners for the prize and they pocketed $5,000 (Sh11 million) each.
Zainabu Alwi Baharoon from Tanzania won in the fiction category for her novel titled “Mungu Hakopeshwi” and the poetry award went to Jacob Ngumbau Julius from Kenya for his collection titled “Moto wa Kifuu”.
Information, Sports and Culture minister Harrison Mwakyembe appreciated ALAF industries, who are the country’s prizes organizers, for this initiative noting that it will influence more Tanzanians into writing more creative works in Kiswahili.
Selected from 116 entries, the manuscripts were read by 3 judges: Ahmad Kipacha, a lecturer of Research Communication with the Arusha-based Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Tanzania, Natalie Arnold Koenings, and anthropologist at Hampshire College in USA, and Rocha Chimerah, professor of Kiswahili Linguistics at Pwani University, Kilifi, Kenya.
The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr Lizzy Attree (Richmond/Goldsmith’s) and Dr Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University), has the express goal of recognizing writings in African languages and encouraging translations from, between and into African languages.