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While you may know “hakuna matata” means “no worries,” did you know the famous phrase from The Lion King is Swahili?

Learn Swahili, currently spoken by over 100 million people around the world. It is an official language in Tanzania and Kenya and is also spoken by many in other African countries.

By the end of the course, you will be able to speak, write, listen to and read the language. You will also experience Swahili culture, music, food, proverbs and idiomatic expressions, greetings and much more. You will benefit from studying with Professor Mwalimu Oswald Almasi, a passionate teacher who co-wrote a Swahili Grammar for introductory and intermediate Swahili, which is also used in the course.

In these interactive classes, you will connect with the Toronto Swahili community, as well as international guests. In previous years, a couple visiting from Tanzania discussed the country’s rich wildlife heritage and the world-famous Serengeti National Park. Students have also participated in a Khanga Writings Workshop conducted by Kulthum Noor from the Toronto Swahili community. These interactions also help inform coursework, such as presentations about Swahili cuisine, women and men’s clothing, taarab music, girls’ and boys’ rites of passage and Swahili poetry.

Course Offered:

AP/SWAH 1000 6.0
Introduction to Swahili

Description: The course will provide an introduction to Swahili language and culture. Learners will be guided through the basic grammatical and phonological aspects of the language, as well as being introduced to the sociolinguistic status of Swahili as it is spoken in East and Central Africa. Emphasis will be placed on developing basic speaking and listening skills and also on reading basic texts. At the end of the course students should have a foundation in the language and be able to carry on simple conversations. Students will also be aware of the cultural contexts in which Swahili is spoken in different countries of East Africa. Authentic materials will be used to bring the Swahili language and culture into the classroom. No prior knowledge of Swahili is assumed.


Contact Oswald Almasi for help with academic and administrative questions.