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Twitter finally recognises Swahili as official language

Social networking site Twitter no longer identifies Swahili as Indonesian, and a team that markets Kenya abroad is elated about it.

The US-based network recently added the capability to detect Swahili words in tweets and to translate them.

An elated Brand Kenya tweeted on Thursday that this happened after online pressure.

“We made noise, a lot of noise; regarding #SwahiliIsNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili. We take this earliest opportunity to say thank you to Twitter for listening. Thank you for recognising Swahili,” Brand Kenya tweeted on Thursday.

We tried the new feature by having a Nation employee tweet: “Ni ukurasa mpya leo hii. Furaha iliyoje katika Bwana?” Twitter’s translation function recognised it as Kiswahili and offered a translation: “It is a new page today. They are happy in the Lord?”


Brand Kenya also posted a video of translations that Twitter was making from Swahili tweets on Nation Media Group’s Swahilihub handle, most of which were spot-on.

The pressure to have Twitter recognise Swahili peaked in April, with observers saying its stature as a language spoken by millions of people should have it recognised.

“Kiswahili is not Indonesian. It is a language proudly spoken in East and Central Africa! Sawa!” tweeted Ron.

“Kiswahili is not and can never be Indonesian, Kiswahili is our National language that units us,” tweeted Bessy.