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What Is The Official Language Of Uganda?

What Is The Official Language Of Uganda?
What is the official languages in uganda
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Uganda Language:

Uganda is a landlocked East-Central African country with a population of 35 million. The country shares its borders with Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The Ugandan population was made up of hunter-gatherers, but that changed when Bantu-speaking people immigrated to the country. The cultural climate of the country changed after that. For nearly a century, the country was ruled by the UK. But the Ugandan population has not known peace after gaining independence from the British. Violent conflicts have been common since the independence of the country.


The majority of the population is Christian. Islam is the second most popular religion in the country. Poverty is the biggest problem in Uganda. Corruption is another factor that keeps the country from progressing. Human rights violations are very common. Due to poverty, people cannot escape to other countries and live better lives. The health system is also in shambles. Basic healthcare is not available to a significant percentage of the population. Although the water supply and sanitation systems have improved in recent years, nearly 40% of the population still does not have access to a water source.

languages in uganda
uganda language

Uganda Country and the Languages of Uganda:

Uganda is a multilingual country. The languages of four main families are spoken in this country. These families are Bantu, Nilotic, Central Sudanic, and Kuliak family. Currently, 43 living languages are spoken in the country. Out of these, forty-one are indigenous languages. Luganda is one of the most popular languages in the country. Luganda is a Bantu language that is spoken by eight million people. The majority of the speakers of Luganda reside in the Buganda kingdom within the country. The Buganda people think that outsiders speaking their language will change its form, which is why they were never in favor of making Luganda one of the official languages of the country.

What Are the Official Languages of Uganda?

Although multiple languages are spoken in Uganda, there are only two official languages.

  1. English:

English is the most popular language in the world. You can find its speakers anywhere in the world. The reason why it became popular is the colonization of different regions by native English speakers. It was brought over to Africa by the British. Although it is not spoken in all the countries of Africa, it still enjoys official status in a few states. English became popular in Uganda during colonial times and has been the official language of the country since its independence. But the Ugandan English has been influenced by other languages of Africa. It is taught in schools and colleges of the country. Although popular all over the country, it is not the national language of the population.

Ugandan English is not the same as American and European English. It has a strong African influence. And it has also been influenced by other languages of Uganda, especially Swahili. It is used in politics and all government agencies. It is used as the medium of instruction in primary and secondary schools. Fluency in English is not the same in every social class. Children who cannot attend primary school may not be fluent in English and only speak their mother tongue.

  1. Swahili:

In 2005, Swahili was awarded official status. Swahili is also the national language of Uganda. It is the native language of the Swahili people and is spoken in the Great African Lakes region as the lingua franca. It is spoken in various East and Southern African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. South Africa has also legalized the teaching of the Swahili language in schools as an optional subject.

In Uganda, Swahili is popular in the north-west of the country. It is spoken by the majority of military personnel. It is also the most popular language in the police force. Although it is one of two official languages of the country, when people say Uganda language, they are often referring to Swahili.

Swahili belongs to the Niger-Congo language family. The exact number of its native speakers is unknown. But nearly 90 million people speak it as their second language. Every local dialect of the language has been influenced by other regional tongues. This is why many Swahili dialects may sound similar to other languages of Uganda.


The language policy of Uganda has changed drastically since the country’s independence from the British. The National Kiswahili Council was established to promote the teaching of Kiswahili in educational institutes. Another goal of the council is to promote the use of Kiswahili as a national language and lingua franca. This way, the speakers of different dialects will be able to use Swahili as the language to communicate with each other.

official language uganda
ugandan languages

Which Ugandan Language Should I Learn?

Learning a second language can be very beneficial for you. If you plan to immigrate to a country, it is best to learn the native tongue, or you won’t be able to communicate with the locals. Living comfortably in a country will be impossible if you don’t know the native language. However, it is important to choose the right language to learn. There is no point in learning a language that will not be beneficial for you. For instance, if you are moving to Africa, learning Chinese will not be productive.

Africa is the land of linguistic and cultural diversity. If you want to study an African language, it is important to pick the one with millions of native speakers. Multiple African languages only have a few thousand speakers, which is why learning them will not be useful for you. It is best to choose a language that is spoken in particular regions. This way, by learning a language, you will be able to connect with the population of a whole region instead of a country.

English may be the language of the administration; it is not the preferred method of communication of the Ugandan population. If you learn Swahili, it will not only help you communicate with the people of northern Uganda but also with the population of other African countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, and Somalia. Kiswahili is the local language that is expected to become the lingua franca in Uganda in the future.

How to Learn Swahili?

Learning a language is not going to be easy. The more different a language is from your native tongue, the harder it will be to become fluent in it. However, there are a few tips that can make the learning process easier for you. Here are a few tips that can help you learn Swahili or any Bantu languages:

  • Learn about the culture of Uganda so you can understand the language. It is impossible to learn a language without developing an understanding of the associated culture. It is also important to learn about the politics and religion of the country.
  • Learn the language from native teachers if you want to enroll in a college program. Native teachers will know what kind of lesson plan will be helpful for you. They will begin by giving you an introduction to their language instead of going straight to the difficult parts.
  • Watch TV shows and movies in Kiswahili to improve your listening skills. Doing so will also help you improve your vocabulary.
  • Keep track of your progress by writing in your journal. This will also help you learn how to make sentences in the language you are learning.
uganda swahili

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