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The Swahili language is spoken by millions of East and Central Africans in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Comoro Islands, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Nothern Zambia. Swahili is the offical national language of Kenya and Tanzania and is one of the working langauges of the African Union. The number of Swahili speakers in Africa increases yearly because of its everyday use in media, commerce, education, and as a regional lingua franca. Swahili cultural heritage is intrinsically connected to African Studies, Africana Studies, and the study of other cultures of African origin in other places in the world. So learning a widely-spoken African language, like Swahili, is essential to being an informed, globalized citizen.

Courses Offered

  • Swahili 1: SWAHIL 0101
  • Swahili 2: SWAHIL 0102
  • Swahili 3: SWAHIL 0103
  • Swahili 4: SWAHIL 0104
  • Swahili 5: SWAHIL 0105
  • Swahili 6: SWAHIL 0106

Why Study Swahili?

Use Swahili to Earn Pitt Credentials


Contact the Honors College for help with CLS, Boren, and Fulbright Applications


Filipo Lubua, Swahili Coordinator, lubua@pitt.edu

Leonora Kivuva, Swahili Instructor, lak31@pitt.edu

For full instructor bios, please click here.

Swahili Outside the Classroom

  • Swahili Students Association (SSA): This is a student association that brings together Swahili speakers, Swahili students, and all other people interested in East Africa at Pitt.
  • Swahili Coffee Hour: This is a weekly Swahili conversational hour for Swahili learners and speakers. It aims at providing an opportunity to practice Swahili in a less formal context, and it is supervised by the Swahili Fulbright Foreign Language Assistant (FLTA). This is open to all people who have interest in learning/practicing their Swahili.

Useful Links

Study Swahili in Tanzania!

Are you interested in Study Abroad? Check out the LCTL Study Abroad page to learn how to study Swahili in Tanzania!

Did You Know?

The English word 'Safari' is actually borrowed from Swahili

Did You Know?

Fan of the Lion King? Many key words from the movie are Swahili words. For example, Simba means Lion in Swahili!

Did You Know?

Fan of Star-Trek? Lieutenant Uhura's name means 'freedom' in Swahili

Did You Know?

Kiswahili is actually derived from the Arabic word meaning "language of coastal dwellers"

Did You Know?

More people (about 20 times more) claim Swahili as their second language, not their first

Did You Know?

In Swahili, 1 o'clock am refers to the first hour after sunrise (7 am other places in the world)

Did You Know?

Michael Jackson's song 'Liberian Girl' lyrics aren't Liberian, they're Swahili.






























What Do Students Say?



"Swahili is so different from other languages I've studied which makes learning and speaking it really fun both inside and outside the classroom"




"With Swahili, you're not only learning a means of communication, but a culture and a way of being. "




"Learning Swahili is an incredible opportunity! he class atmosphere is open, fun, and energetic."

- Shannon

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