VOLUME LVII – Number 1

Sheila Waweru

Abstract: This paper explores how Swahili emerged as Kenya’s national language. Although the language initially spread from the East African coast to the interior of the country, its nationalization was a result of colonial policies that enhanced its spread and nationalist interventions that cemented its status. This paper demonstrates this linguistic history and uses it to highlight the nation-building process in Kenya from its colonial period to its post-colonial period.

Keywords: Kenya, Swahili, nationalism, language, postcolonialism, English, Kenyatta

About the Author: Sheila Waweru is a graduate student at Towson University in the Global Humanities program. As an undergraduate at the United States International University-Africa, she majored in Journalism and subsequently interned with an NGO, the Association of Media Women in Kenya.

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