The 1st Annual Swahili Day
By Alisha Morrow
The 1st annual Swahili Day was a daylong event that took place onThursday, February 23 at the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center. Students that are currently enrolled in Swahili helped in planning Swahili Day and played an essential role in making it a success.
On the morning of Swahili Day, Swahili students gathered at the African American Cultural Center to decorate. They decorated the cultural center with posters that they had made themselves. One poster read “Hujambo mwanafunzi," which means: “How are you, student?” It was at the front of the center welcoming all of the guests. Other posters were informational, for example teaching the numbers and other popular Swahili words.
The first event of the day, which took place at noon, was a panel discussion. At this discussion students talked about what Swahili means to them. Then some students took pictures in traditional Tanzanian garments before going out to teach Swahili words and phrases around campus. Later in the day, at 6pm, Swahili students helped lead children’s hour. Young children from the local community were invited to participate in Swahili Day. The Swahili students helped them read books and taught them a few words. One of the many phrases that they taught the children was “Hakuna Matata” a phrase popularized by the Disney film, The Lion King, which means no worries.
Following Children’s Hour was a lecture entitled “Swahili in African History.” Dr. James R. Brennan, Assistant Professor of History and African Studies gave the lecture. He lectured about the political history of the Swahili language and where a variety of Swahili words came from. After his lecture, there was a short question and answer session where audience members inquired about the topic and contents of his lecture and life in Tanzania.
After the question and answer session, Swahili Day participants ate, listened to East African music and socialized. Overall, the first annual Swahili Day was a success.