Friday, 9 July 2010


Radio France Internationale is stepping up its coverage and reaching further afield with the development of new programmes in Swahili. The station launched programme broadcasting in Swahili in 10 African countries on Monday, with two hours of programmes daily. The broadcasts will be aired from the RFI stations in Mombasa (105.5 FM) and Nairobi (89.9FM) in Kenya, Dar Es Salaam (94.6 FM) in Tanzania, Kampala in Uganda (93.7FM), Manga (103.7FM) in Burundi and, eventually, southern Rwanda (92.1FM). Some of the programmes in Swahili will also be broadcast in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, southern Sudan, Madagascar and the Comoros. The programmes feature newscasts, sports and music magazines and a daily interactive broadcast and are being made in Dar Es Salaam by a team of nine persons flanking David Coffey, head of the RFI Swahili service. RFI-Ki-Swahili goes on the air from 4.30 to 5 am, from 5.30 to 6 am and from 3 to 4 pm GMT.
There are over 100 million Swahili speakers. It is the most widely-spoken Bantu language and the African language most taught worldwide. Swahili is currently spoken in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and the Comoros, among others.
RFI Assistant Managing Director Geneviève Goëtzinger has said: “This latest language is a major staging post in the boost to RFI. RFI has to go for empathy with its listeners in Africa. It has to address them in the languages they speak, as the success scored by the programmes in Hausa, which we launched three years ago, shows. If it wants to win over new audience bases, meaning market shares in the English- and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, RFI has to assert itself as the bilingual people’s radio.”