Last month, frustrated by how African languages are unrecognised on social media platforms, Kenyans started a movement calling on Twitter to recognise Swahili — their major indigenous language — using the #SwahiliIsNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili hashtags.
— Braddon R (@braddon_r) April 20, 2018
Google recognizes Swahili
It's high time Twitter you do the same.#TwitterRecognizeSwahili
— Braddon R (@braddon_r) April 23, 2018
Twitter confuses swahili with Indonesian.. 😒😒#TwitterRecognizeSwahili
— Robbie (@robbieOneKE) April 23, 2018
Swahili, also known as Kiswahili is one of the most common African languages widely spoken in East and Central African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Congo.
The Twitter movement sprung from the #AfricanLanguageDay campaign launched by eNitiate, a Pan-African digital agency in February to encourage Africans to use their native languages on social media more frequently.
A few days ago, Twitter succumbed to the pressure and made Swahili the first African language to be recognised and translated on the platform.
TWITTER RECOGNISES SWAHILI AS A LANGUAGE:
USA based social networking site Twitter recently added the capability to detect Swahili words in tweets & to translate them. Kiswahili which is widely used in East Africa, is Kenya's National language & it unites the people of Kenya. pic.twitter.com/TMzgWU1IXu
— Ministry Of Sports, Culture & Heritage (@moscakenya) May 7, 2018
According to Bra Willy, founder of eNitiate, the translation from Swahili is still not 100%, however, it’s a good start.
Hopefully, the days of African languages being recognised as Indonesian and Vietnamese would soon be over. I personally cannot wait to be able to translate tweets from our friends from South Africa.