Africa: RFI Launches Kiswahili Service in Ten Countries

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Radio France Internationale has launched its Swahili language daily radio broadcast on Monday from Dar-Es-Salam. A team of nine journalists, headed by manager David Coffey will produce news, features, sports and music magazines to be broadcast for two hours daily to RFI stations throughout the continent.

In the morning broadcasts, there will be two half-hour slots of Africa-centric news with international news followed by sports, says Coffey. "We have daily magazines that will last about 10 minutes, ranging from environment, to politics to a 'knowing your rights' segment discussing legal issues here in Africa," he adds.

The second program will focus more on international programmes, especially since all the local stations focus on very local news, he says. "We're trying to bring in more international news with an East Africa angle, of course," he adds.

The broadcasts will be aired on RFI stations in Mombasa (105.5 FM) and Nairobi (89.9FM) in Kenya, Dar Es Salaam (94.6 FM) in Tanzania, Kampala in Uganda (93.7FM), Manga (103.7FM) in Burundi and, eventually, southern Rwanda (92.1FM). Some of the programmes in Kiswahili will also be broadcast in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, southern Sudan, Madagascar and the Comoros. RFI-Kiswahili goes on the air from 4.30 to 5 am, from 5.30 to 6 am and from 3 to 4 pm UT.

There are over 100 million Swahili speakers around the world. Swahili is the most widely-spoken Bantu language, and the most widely-taught. Swahili is currently spoken in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique, and the Comoros islands.

In addition, a corresponding website will be up and running this week at www.rfikiswahili.com. RFI is also broadcast in 11 languages, including Hausa.