Swahili, Congo

Alternate Names
Zaïre Swahili

1,000 in Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Widespread in Katanga, Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu, and Maniema provinces; southeast Orientale Province. Also in Zambia.

Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in eastern regions (2006, Constitution, Article 1(8)).


Ituri Kingwana, Katanga Swahili, Kivu Swahili, Lualaba Kingwana. Kingwana is a pidgin Swahili which functions sociolinguistically as a dialect. There are several regional dialects, with that of the formerly Arabized areas being most similar to Swahili of Kenya and Tanzania. Lexical similarity: 30% with Lingala [lin] and with the Lega group; 15%–20% with Bira-Huku group, Bali [bcp], and Lika [lik].

Language Use

9,100,000 L2 speakers (1991 UBS).

Language Development
Taught in primary schools. Bible: 1960–1997.
Latin script.

Also spoken in:

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