The Department of Kiswahili was re-launched at the University of Nairobi in the year 2013 after being hosted in the Department of Linguistics & Languages for sometime. Prior to this re-launch, Kiswahili was taught from the early seventies within the now defunct Department of Linguistics and African Languages.The status of Kiswahili in Kenya in the 70s was that it was only a National Language.
This meant, the principle objective of teaching Kiswahili was to develop students who can master not just its grammar but also its literature as well. Currently, Kiswahili is by law both a National and Official language in Kenya. The Department trains students at undergraduate and post graduate levels. The Department also boasts of graduating students at PhD level.
This Department serves as a catalyst for the training of the same disciplines in related departments in the country. Over the years Kiswahili at the University of Nairobi has been developing in terms of training researchers, teachers and lecturers. Further, the Department has grown to become a centre of Fiction and Academic writing. It is a Department that boasts of renown writers of Kiswahili poetry, Kiswahili novel and Kiswahili drama in the East African Region.