SWAHILI: Hakuna matata, a brief history
|Official language in||Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, African Union, East African Community|
|Regulated by||Baraza la Kiswahili la Taifa (Tanzania), Chama cha Kiswahili cha Taifa (Kenya)|
areas where Swahili or Comorian is the indigenous language
official or national language
as a trade language
Estimates of the total number of Swahili speakers vary widely, from 50 million to over 100 million. Swahili serves as a national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC.
Shikomor, the official language in Comoros and also spoken in Mayotte (Shimaore), is related to Swahili. Swahili is also one of the working languages of the African Union and officially recognised as a lingua franca of the East African Community.
A significant fraction of Swahili vocabulary is derived from Arabic  and Sanskrit through contact with Arabic-speaking Muslim inhabitants and Indian merchants of the Swahili Coast.
The earliest known documents written in Swahili are letters written in Kilwa in 1711 in the Arabic script that were sent to the Portuguese of Mozambique and their local allies. The original letters are preserved in the Historical Archives of Goa, India.
Christian missionaries were the ones that spread the Latin alphabet to the Swahili people. They used it to communicate with the natives, spreading it further.
Since Swahili was the language of commerce in East Africa, the colonial administrators wanted to standardize it. In June 1928, an interterritorial conference attended by representatives of Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, and Zanzibar took place in Mombasa. The Zanzibar dialect was chosen as standard Swahili for those areas, and the standard orthography for Swahili was adopted.
Swahili has become a second language spoken by tens of millions in three African Great Lakes countries (Tanzania, Kenya, and the DRC) where it is an official or national language. It is the only African language in the African Union. In 2016, Swahili was made a compulsory subject in all Kenyan schools. Swahili and closely related languages are spoken by relatively small numbers of people in Burundi, the Comoros, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, and northern Zambia. The language was still understood in the southern ports of the Red Sea and along the coasts of southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf in the 20th century.
Some 80 percent of approximately 49 million Tanzanians speak Swahili in addition to their first languages. The five eastern provinces of the DRC are Swahili-speaking. Nearly half the 66 million Congolese reportedly speak it. Swahili speakers may number 120 to 150 million in total.
African reminder from Omar Kalinge Nyago