Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

BBC Swahili celebrates 60 years of broadcasting

BBC Swahili is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year and has broadcast special 60th anniversary editions of AMKA na BBC (radio) and Dira ya Dunia (TV and radio).

These programmes have tracked the growth of the Kiswahili media industry, the impact of democracy and how BBC Swahili has touched listeners’ lives. The service has also been looking at entertainment from the region over the years – in particular Swahili Beats.

Past BBC presenters have been popping up to reflect on how things have changed since the first broadcast from London in 1957. The BBC also held a debate in Dar es Salaam entitled “My Swahili’’ examining how the language – widely spoken in East Africa – had evolved over the years, including the different dialects. BBC Swahili has evolved from a radio station to a broadcaster offering a breadth of multimedia content, with daily television programming, a comprehensive online news website and popular social media feeds.

BBC Swahili has over 2.5 million fans on Facebook, 131,000 followers on Twitter and 803,000 followers on Instagram.

Caroline Karobia, Editor of BBC Swahili says: “We are so proud of our great broadcasting history and hope we can carry on improving and serving our audiences for many years to come.  We are excited by the possibilities opened up by new technology to engage even more closely with our audience in the future.”