The activities of the Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners were initially embedded in the former Institute of Kiswahili and Foreign Languages, better known as TAKILUKI which was established in 1979. Following the University restructuring process; the new Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners has been established to teach Kiswahili programmes for foreigners. The Department is located in the heart of the Stone Town of Zanzibar.

The Department has been rapidly growing in terms of the programmes, teaching methods, instructional materials and qualified academic staff. The State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) aims at making the Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners the preferred centre for learning Kiswahili worldwide. 


 The department has the following objectives:

  • To teach, promote and spread Kiswahili within and outside the country.
  • To teach Kiswahili to foreigners.
  • To co-operate with other institutes sharing similar objectives and functions from within and outside the country.

Courses available

The Department offers the following courses for the foreigners wishing to learn Kiswahili:

  • Kiswahili for Beginners
  • Intermediate Kiswahili Course
  • Advanced Kiswahili Course
  • Kiswahili Literature
  • Tailor made course
  • Kiswahili for Tourists

Kiswahili Course for Beginners

Course Code: KBL – 11

In this level the Department provides basic instruction on how to greet people at different times and at different levels of social status, preparing students for simple conversations in an authentic manner. In addition to that it offers other basic language skills such as speaking, writing, listening and reading; within those areas, grammar is introduced throughout.

The Department also integrates the student with Swahili culture and values. It directs the student to use the language in real situations so that the student builds self-confidence in using the language in a variety of different contexts.

Finally, the Department develops the student’s communicative writing skills. It encourages the student to be independent by participating in conversations with a variety of Swahili speakers and interacting with people in different contexts.

The students are supplied with a textbook – ZUNGUMZA KISWAHILI Hatua ya Kwanza.

Duration: four weeks.

Kiswahili for Intermediate Learners’ Course

Course Code: KIL – 20

At the intermediate level, the course is designed for the students to learn language through the environment, and to learn grammar through context. Also, content is integrated with the language. This level provides various reading, listening and writing skills to those who have a fair amount of knowledge of the language. This will help the students to immerse the Swahili language community.

The Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners designs the course to engage the student in functional usage of the language for meaningful purpose, developing appropriate strategies for initiating conversation, giving and receiving directions, asking and responding, reading passages and enabling him/her to give simple opinions.

The Department’s focus is to engage the student in full participation in academic, social and work contexts in Swahili. It is designed to enable the student to evaluate ideas and responses.

Duration: four weeks.

Kiswahili for Advanced Learners’ Course

Course Code: KAL – 30


At this level the Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners develops listening skills. Through different books, this level is designed for the student to expand vocabulary and to evaluate and analyze the Swahili language in different situations and purposes.

It also directs the students to identify the main ideas, discuss and present them through Swahili language.

Duration: four weeks.

Kiswahili Literature

Course Code: KLT – 40

The course has a core syllabus and a variable component which takes into account the needs of the participants. The minimum time for the course is two weeks (40 hours). All the texts required may be purchased from the Department. The Department also has a well-stocked class library.

Kiswahili for Tourists

Course Code: KFT – 11

 This is only a one-week course that is provided for tourists who visit the Zanzibar islands just for few days. It is intended to help them to communicate with local people. The Department provides the basic language needed for greetings, buying and asking directions.

Tailor made Courses

Apart from the courses mentioned above, the department is flexible to offer special programmes according to the needs and interest of the learners.

Programmes for Groups

In addition to scheduled programmes across the calendar year, the Department recognizes the need of various institutions for programmes that are offered to a specific group of students coming from the same institution.

 Programme Calendar

The programme is offered throughout the year but the Department’s preferences are to commence the programme on the first week of a month during working days for individual students.

Admission is also done for those wishing to carry out their studies in other periods of a month but their schedule will begin in the afternoon.

Class Hours

Morning class starts from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Afternoon class starts from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Registration requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for the courses offered by the Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners. Interested students will be required to submit registration forms which will be available on our website or by request.

Those interested in learning Kiswahili may do so in the following ways:

  • Visit the Department in person
  • Visit the website:


Contact Informations

The State University of Zanzibar

Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners

P.O. Box 146

Zanzibar – Tanzania

E mail:


Certificate Issuance

Course certificates will be issued on completion of at least four weeks of studies. For those who will study less than this period, a certificate of attendance/participation will be offered for them.


There are registration fee of US $ 15 will be charged for each student and is the same for all courses.

Classes are held for four hours a day – from Monday to Friday. Fees are charged at the rate of US $ 10 per student per hour. For a group of students more than 9 there will be a discount of US $ 2 per student per hour. The weekly rate per course is as follows:

10 x 4 x 5 = US $ 200 per week (for individuals)


8 x 4 x 5 = US $160 per week (for a group exceeding 9 students).

Residence Permit and Visa Processing

The Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners of the State University of Zanzibar will take full responsibilities for residence permit and visa processing. Eight Passport sized pictures are required to facilitate the registration and Class C visa processing. Cost for the multiple entry visa is US $ 250 with duration of up to two (2) years depending on the nature of studies being carried out.

Application process for Class C visa is done while a student is still in his/her home or elsewhere out of Tanzania. Otherwise, a type of visa known as ‘Business Pass’ which is a single entry with duration of ninety (90) days and costs US $ 200 can be applied.


The Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners can provide host families for those who are interested to stay with a local family; this will reinforce further their language and cultural skills. Student will be provided with a nice room with fan and writing table, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Current rates are US $ 20 per day.

Field Trips

There will be field trips for every week where students will visit the sandy beaches and Ancient Zanzibar Historical sites, such as: Mangapwani Slave Chambers, Kizimbani Spice farm, Jozani Forest, Maruhubi Ruins, Kizimkazi- Zanzibar Old Capital Old Mosque, Traditional Healing Arts, House of Wonder, Women Ceramics Collective, Seaweed farming, etc. These visits are pleasant, enjoyable and a valuable source of learning.

Teaching staff

The staff at the Department is a group of well qualified dedicated experts with years of experience in teaching Kiswahili to foreigners. The group has a sound knowledge of the language and its culture, and is ready to share this with others.


The Department invites you to join a large number of foreign students for a course in both the Kiswahili language and the culture of Zanzibar and to enjoy the hospitality of the staff and people of Zanzibar. 

The State University of Zanzibar

Department of Kiswahili for Foreigners

Head of Department

Dr Zainab Ali Iddi

P.O. Box 146

Zanzibar – Tanzania

E mail: