Tanzania Seeks to Broadcast AFCON 2023 in Swahili

Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Fans of Cameroon are seen during the semifinal match between Cameroon and Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations in Yaounde, Cameroon, Feb. 3, 2022. PHOTO/COURTESY
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Tanzania has officially sought permission from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to broadcast the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 in Swahili. Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, is a Bantu language spoken by the Swahili people. The move aims to capitalize on the widespread use of Swahili, with over 200 million speakers across the globe, making AFCON 2023 an ideal platform for promoting the language, according to Tanzanian Minister of Culture, Arts, and Sports Damas Ndumbaro. This initiative is also considered a preparation for broadcasting AFCON 2027, which will be jointly hosted by the East African nations of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda.

If CAF grants Tanzania the green light to broadcast AFCON 2023 in Swahili, the East African nation will deploy a team from the state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation to Cote d’Ivoire, where the tournament will take place. The AFCON 2023 event will feature 24 teams and is scheduled to be held in Cote d’Ivoire from January 13 to February 11, 2024. Initially planned for 2023, the tournament was postponed to the following year. Additionally, Tanzania has requested the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund to introduce Swahili as a working language, further promoting its use on an international stage. Notably, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization designated July 7 as World Kiswahili Language Day, making it the first African language to receive such recognition from the UN.

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