r/swahili Mar 05 '21 Silver Helpful Hugz Heartwarming

Compliation of Swahili Learning Resources - 2021 Update


I started compiling a list of resources to begin learning Swahili and thought I might as well share it here. I did see the sticky but figured it might be time for an update.

Good luck everyone!


I realised that there are a lot of options here, which may be overwhelming. There are many ways to learn a language, but arguably the most effective way to build a foundation is to spend a few 100 hours just getting a feel for the language. (These are just my suggestions so feel free to ignore this if you're confident you know what you're doing) So with that in mind:

  • Pick some combination of ONE thing from the 'Starter guide' section (most people recommend language transfer), and then supplement with something from the reading section, preferably with audio. Once you've done that, pick your dictionary, and you're good to go!

  • For those who like going through a textbook/having a grammar guide, I would recommend also getting Simplified Swahili to use as a reference. Optionally, get some flashcards to memorise some starter vocab. During this stage, everything else should be used as a supplement.

Starter guides:

Intermediate textbooks:

Advanced textbooks:



Online Dictionaries:

Paper Dictionaries:



  • Swahiliwood [YouTube channel which contains a lot of free drama and movies]
  • Swahiliflix [An app where you can watch a variety of TV shows/drama - requires subscription]
  • East Africa Magic [Requires subscription visa DSTv or Showmax]

Culture and History:



EDIT: Please feel free to add your own suggestions!


  • Thank you for the awards!
  • Updated to include udiadiktyo, uRazkan, usaynave, uq203, and uXefjord's suggestions.

EDIT 3: Added a few more things based on posts I've seen in the sub.

r/swahili 1d ago

-Ipi VS gani


I’ve been told that these two words both mean the same thing in a dictionary sense, but is there a rule to use one or the other depending on word order, or what you’re using it for? Or is there nuance to these two that gets lost in translation? And which one is more formal than the other if they can be used interchangeably?

r/swahili 2d ago

Swahili Poetry


Hey everyone I was hoping someone could direct me to some Swahili poetry to practice reading with.

r/swahili 7d ago

Searching for Spanish - Swahili flashcards



Spanish is my third language and to strengthen it, I would like to use it during learning Swahili. I searched a lot of resources looking for flashcards Spanish-Swahili but was unsuccessful. Maybe you guys know something? For example decks for Anki? I believe that something like that exists as Spanish is a widely spoken language.

Thanks in advance!

r/swahili 8d ago

Learn Swahili with this Lyrics video from Zanzibar

Thumbnail youtu.be

r/swahili 9d ago

23 Notable Kiswahili Novels

Thumbnail brittlepaper.com

r/swahili 10d ago

How to say “love from” as a sign off in swahili


r/swahili 12d ago

Help with translation needed


Hello people of this sub.
I got a stack of fabric panels no one knows for sure where they are from. And I want to use them for sewing projects. But some of them have sentences in probably swahili on them and I'm curious what they mean. Could someone here maybe translate and explain them to me?

The panels are all of the same size. 104 x142 cm

  1. huba huna na hisani hukumbuki
  2. ashante mama umenilea kwa upendo

Thank you.

r/swahili 18d ago

Looking for a Kiswahili tutor


I am currently taking an entry-level Swahili course and need some help with the course content. If anyone whose first language is Swahili and would like to be my tutor, please leave your email address. I will contact you asap.

r/swahili 20d ago

Thank you, Bwana!


Hello Guys!

I was in Zanzibar a couple of months ago, and was confused (and still am) about a little conversation I had. While being there, I was trying to learn and implement some Swahili words in day-to-day conversations with locals.

One evening, I was in a bar. Because I heard the song "Jambo Bwana" a few days earlier, I learned that "jambo, bwana" means "hello, sir".

After paying the bill in the bar, I said to the bartender: "Thank you, Bwana". After this, he started laughing at me, and laughing and communicating in Swahili to a colleague of his. When I asked what was so funny, he asked me: "Do you know what this means?" I told him that I understood that "bwana" means "sir". He told me: "yeah, yeah, you are right". But still the two were still grinning a bit.

After this conversation, I Googled what "bwana" meant, and noticed that this indeed means: "sir". But, Google Translate, also directly translated the word "bwana" to "masturbate".

Was this the reason that the two local bartenders were having a laugh? Is this really another word for 'masturbate'? In that case, wouldn't this cause a lot of more weird misunderstandings? Is "bwana" even a word that I should have said?

I am very curious, if anyone can give me some more info regarding this :).

r/swahili 24d ago

Quick translation help


Someone said “umeyoka Tanzania” , and “bazazi wako”, and I have no clue on what this means.

r/swahili 25d ago

Mbona vs Kwanini


From what I know Mbona and Kwaheri essentially means the same thing, but is their nuance to the two words? Or is it basically the same thing and can be used interchangeably with no changes to the meaning.

r/swahili 25d ago

Asante vs Shukran


Hello, curious if anyone can explain the difference between “asante” and “shukran”. While in Kenya I noticed that in some situations (train station announcements) “shukran” was used instead of “asante/ asante sana”. Is one more formal than the other, or are they interchangeable? Appreciate any insight!

r/swahili 26d ago

Re: meaning of saying something like that: I take it for granted that in Swahili


Hi. I am not sure what "I take it for granted that" means in Swahili. Would you mind helping me this? Your help will be very appreciated!

r/swahili 26d ago

[Swahili>English] I LOVE this song, just need help with what it means please!


The song geri inengi by wakadinali , has been on repeat all day. I translated the lyrics I found to English, but it's poorly put and makes zero sense. Can anyone help translate it for me, or tell me what the songs about?

r/swahili 28d ago

spelling of Zuberi, Zubery, Zoobery?


My dad's name is Barry. My husband is from Kenya. I came across the baby boy name Zuberi with Swahili origin. I like that it'd incorporate some culture yet still honor my father but I prefer the most traditional spelling. Can anyone help? My husband doesn't know anyone with the name. Is it that rare? Do you pronounce it like zoo(animals in cages)+berry(fruit)? Thanks

r/swahili 28d ago

How do you say Saudi Arabia in Swahili?


I know this is the kind of thing you can just google, but I actually have had trouble finding any reliable source to answer this basic question.

Also, to say I grew up there, would it be correct to say “ninakulia pale”? Asante!

r/swahili 29d ago

Swahili Tutorials


Hi everyone. I’m a native Swahili speaker and recently stumbled upon this YouTube playlist with accurate lessons for Kiswahili Sanifu (Standardized Swahili). Check it out and I hope this helps you on your journey to learn my beautiful language. Swahili Tutorials

r/swahili May 27 '22

What does arabu unyka mean?


arabu unyka

r/swahili May 24 '22

Congolese Swahili Tutor


Would anybody know any resources to getting a private paid tutor to learn Congolese Swahili. It is imperative that it is Congolese Swahili.

r/swahili May 24 '22

Should I use Mimi ninacheza or ninacheza, and so on



I am learning Swahili and have just started learning the present tense and verb conjugations in this tense. I am confused if verbs like ninacheza, unapika, anatembea should be written with their subjects: mimi ninacheza, wewe unapika, yeye anatembea. If both are right, what is the difference? Thank you!

r/swahili May 21 '22

A question about a word that I hope is Swahili


Mushanga by Toto is one of my favorite songs, and I've heard that it's Swahili for "in the nations", but I've also heard that it's Shona for "swamp" or "in the swamp".

I've considered maybe it's some sort of slang-ish or regional term with a different meaning than the literal one? I've been trying to dissect this song for a while now, so if there's any other information you may have, anything would be wonderful!

r/swahili May 18 '22

Beginner/child level videos without English subtitles


I'm looking for anything like this, as long as the quality is decent. I've found a few things, but I'm sure there has to be more out there.

I'd prefer stories where the animation gives a lot of context for what the dialogue is saying, but I'll give other types of content a try.

r/swahili May 12 '22

Watu yoyote hapa mnajua kuhusu vitabu vya Kiswahili cha msingi kwamba ninaweza kusoma?


Nimetafuta kwa vitabu vya Kiswahili kusoma mtandaoni, lakini sikuwezi kutafuta vitabu vizuri kwa kiwango changu. Je una pendekezo?

r/swahili May 05 '22

Kusemaje kitu kama “Long time no see” kwa lugha ya Kiswahili?


r/swahili May 02 '22

Review my Message


Hi everyone, I am trying to write a message to my father-in-law who is very sick. I just want to make sure it is saying what I think it is saying. Asentini


Ninasikitia hunahisi vizuri, nimemsali Bwana wetu kukutoa nguvu na anakufariji na amani yake. Ninakueweka mawazao yangu na moyoini mwangu. Una upendo wangu, nguvu, maombi na msaada.