About Swahili Culture

close button

Language and Geography

The Swahili language or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups who live along the large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique.  Closely related languages and dialects are spoken in the Comoros Islands and Somalia.  The language was first written with the Arabic script.  Today, Swahili is written in a Latin alphabet that was introduced by Christian missionaries and other people of the world who ruled over this area.

Region, Traditions

Many Swahili are Muslim today because Islam was brought to the East African coast around 1012 AD when traders from the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula came to this part of Africa. The Islam traditions influence the food, clothing and way of life for the Swahili people. Swahili children attend Madrassa, which are religious classes to study the Koran and learn the Arabic language.  Swahili marriages are usually arranged by parents. That means the parents who have a daughter choose the groom for her.  Nowadays, she may decide not to marry this person and select her own groom.  The weddings last several days with ceremonies and activities for everyone.  Only men are allowed in the mosque for the wedding vows.

error: