The African continent has many languages. But if there is one language that a non-African, or a diasporan African, must learn, it should be Kiswahili. The language is spoken in many countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Congo and parts of Mozambique and South Africa. It is taught in many universities in Africa, Europe, Asia and America. Kiswahili is not only pan African, but also global. There are many books from which one can learn Kiswahili. But I really recommend Swahili Books 1 and 2, by Odilia Anyachi Okonga. The illustrations that accompany the texts, are clear, varied and captivating. Each picture tells a visual story. The vocabulary is arranged in such a way that by the time you have gone through the two texts, you should be able to read Kiswahili texts, and hold a decent conversation in Kiswahili. Anyachi, one of the names of the author, means , “eye of God”. What better way of learning Kiswahili but from one with the eye of God, who gave humans the power of speech?

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o