Uganda Named Best English-Speaking Country in Africa

Fredrick Ngugi March 02, 2017
Ugandan school children in class. Photo credit: Uganda Mission

Uganda is the best English-speaking country in Africa, according to a recent study done by the World Linguistic Society, according to New Vision.

The report puts Zambia in the second position followed by South Africa and Kenya, respectively.

However, many have questioned the authenticity of this study, asking how South Africa could come in third despite the fact that it is the top African country with the highest number of English-speaking White people.

Even so, Uganda is an Anglophone country, with English being its official language and the language of instruction in all learning institutions.

Colonial Language

Although English is now a common language in many African countries, especially among the youth, many Africans still view it as a colonial language, particularly in former British colonies.

Even in Kenya, which was under British rule for 68 years, the English language is not very common compared to other local languages, such as Kiswahili.

In Tanzania, another British protectorate, Kiswahili is both the national language and the language of instruction in learning institutions.

Successive governments in Tanzania have used Kiswahili as a symbol of national unity to promote socialism and nationhood.

But when compared to other “foreign languages,” such as French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, English is the most commonly spoken language in Africa. In fact, some francophone countries are now replacing French with English as their official language.

A good example is Rwanda, which in 2008 decided to drop French and immediately issued a decree to all public schools throughout the country to instruct students in English.

This drastic shift is said to have been occasioned by a diplomatic row between Rwanda and France that arose during the deadly Rwandan Genocide in 1994.

Rwanda has repeatedly blamed France for actively supporting one side of the warring factions in the genocide. It has been widely reported that France provided arms and military training to a militia group belonging to the Hutu community, Rwanda’s ethnic majority.

Other African countries, such as Burundi and Gabon, are switching from French to English, while South Sudan is slowly adopting English.

This is largely because English has become a sign of progress in many parts of Africa.

Many Africans, especially the young generation, believe that to be educated means to speak English.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: March 2, 2017


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