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Could we change the Swahili flag from the Tanzanian flag to the East African Community flag?

Kiswahili is spoken in many East African countries, not just Tanzania. It's an official language of the EAC, and was recently accepted as an official language of the SADC (South African Development Community.

There are Kiswahili speakers in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Oman and Comoros. The Tanzanian flag alone doesn't represent all these countries.

I'd link to an image file of the EAC flag, but links aren't accepted here. Google can do the job, though.


August 23, 2019



a good point, I'll bring it up with the admin


Ahsante. Kibinafsi naona hii itaendeleza umajumui.


Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, more than 100 tongues are spoken in Tanzania, yet the country has no official language. In any case, Angweina, you make a case for DL's course banner for Swahili as an extra-national African lingua franca, but what about Swahili's due representation as a native tongue with a home country? On the other hand, given the rise of ugly nationalism and ethnic chauvinism around the world, flags of all kinds as symbols of languages would be largely problematic. Bottom line: the question might be complicated.


Hi PeaceForce. Funny thing is, in almost every East African country, most people usually speak an average of 2-3 languages - their mother tongue, Kiswahili and/or English. Some (usually traders) speak more.

Tanzania does have an official language - Kiswahili. It's in their constitution which I would have linked to, but I can't post links here. A web search on "Tanzania official language" should yield a couple of results.

Lastly, on the topic of nationalism. I would very much like to see your point, but I don't see how having an EAC flag representing Kiswahili would be ethnic chauvinism. Kiswahili is the official language of the EAC.

Edit: With regard to its due representation within a home country, Kiswahili's home country is on the coastal line from Somalia all the way to Mosambique; technically, its home country no longer exists.


Perhaps I stand corrected against Wikipedia's claim that Tanzania does not have a de jure official language:


Either way, I agree, Kiswahili should be keenly appreciated as an important lingua franca across East Africa (if not the continent as a whole). At the same time, it would arguably be ideal to include the relatively few Waswahili people in any representation of the language (not to mention in any idea of East African regionalism, or, for that matter, pan-Africanism).


Thanks for mentioning that (their representation). I'll try as best as I can to explain this to you (who I shall assume to be foreign to East African culture).

You see, using colours, the design of the EAC flag incorporates the flags of all its member states, including Tanzania. Tanzania itself is a union of two states - Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Zanzibar is where most Waswahili live. In matters vexillology, the flag of Tanzania incorporates the flags of both Tanganyika and Zanzibar. So, if we work backwards, the Waswahili are well represented on the Zanzibari flag, who are well represented on the Tanzanian flag, who are well represented in the EAC flag.

I hope you get my point. If it's still unclear, I'm open to answer any questions you may have.


Got it, thanks! With such deep knowledge and clear reasoning, you would already clinch your case ... good luck getting the course banner changed! (How to render the multicolored, graphically rich EAC flag per DL's simplified aesthetics is another matter, perhaps ... )


Do you know whethere there are any official guidelines for this design scheme? I'm fairly OK at Adobe Illustrator and would like to get started on it - the DL admins can meet us halfway there.


There is an image on Wikipedia at


It is described as "A blue background with a thin yellow stripe fimbrated in green, overtop two thin stripes of black and red, fimbriated in white. In the center of the stripes is the emblem of the EAC."


I like it better with the Tanzanian flag, because it's more recognizable. I know Duolingo uses the Arab league flag for Arabic but that flag looks very much like the Saudi flag. Still, Duolingo uses the Spanish flag for Spanish, even though Spanish is spoken across Latin America.


the difference here is an East African flag exists


Good point. And I guess Duolingo would be a good platform to expose organizations like the EAC to Americans.


While Ki-Swahili is spoken in other countries than Tanzania, in most other countries (if not all), Ki-Swahili is not spoken by everyone as in Tanzania and often is it is very colloquial. It is not used in schools as the language of instruction nor used in offices. If to use one country, it is probably logical to use Tanzanian flag. For English Duo Lingo uses US and UK flag, but should they use the Commonwealth flag? It seems the matter of perspectives.

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