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(773) 746-2367

The Swahili Institute of Chicago (SWITCH) was established as a not-for-profit organization in 1988 by it's Founder, Baba Simba Tayari. SWITCH has offered Kiswahili instructions, services and cultural activities to a wide range of clients over several decades. These include students from preschool through college, public and private organizations, as well as local and national entities. This experience has allowed us to expose a significant number of children and adults to African language and culture. Below is a list of benefits that we have observed the students or participants realize from being engaged in our programs and events.

• A world language competency
• Improved respect for self, peers and elders
• Improved understanding and appreciation of their ancestors
• Mental and spirituals connectedness to Africa and the diaspora
• Better understanding of their history and themselves in that process
• Importance of character development and spiritual values in balance to materialism
• A heightened sense of personal accountability and group responsibility to the community
• Understanding the role of age groups, rites of passage and the stages of human development
• An understanding of behavioral models reflective of African traditions as opposed to European
• Tie-ins to other subjects such a language structure, math, geography and history
• Active participation in cultural activities such as singing, dancing, drumming
• More knowledge and appreciation of other cultures and ethnic groups
• Attendance at more cultural events and establishments such as festivals, shops or restaurants

SWITCH hopes you will join us soon in a class, a Swahili night, a drum circle or other activity. Please expose your children to an African language. Making it a family affair is really impactful because members integrate the language into their daily activities. Feel free to contact us for any questions you may have regarding our programs and services.


Our Mission

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The Swahili Institute of Chicago was establised to promote the language of Kiswahili (Swahili), African Culture and History by providing courses, sevices, products and resources to achieve wider access to and understanding of this major African language.

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Learn with Us

We provide comprehensive,
personalized instructions!

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Via Zoom October 8, 2021

The Swahili Institute of Chicago (SWITCH) is pleased and excited about the upcoming “Launch of Swahili as the Official Diaspora Language” by the African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI) in collaboration with the Swahili Cultural Institute and the Global Diaspora One Voice Consortium (GDDF). The host of this Zoom launch is H.E. Ambassador, Arikana Chihombori Quao, who is widely admired and respected advocate for African unity and power.
It has been a basic belief of SWITCH from its inception, that Kiswahili is the strongest candidate to become the Pan African language for the continent. The African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), established by the African Union with headquarters in Bamako, Mali, confirms this central role of Kiswahili in visions of unification of the continent and its people. Kiswahili is easily the most recognized African language in the U.S.A. This is especially true, but not exclusively, because of the Matunda ya KWANZAA celebrations and observances that have been growing since its inception in 1966 and which use Kiswahili words for all its concepts, principles and symbols.
SWITCH’s belief has been that the proliferation and adoption of Kiswahili in the U.S.A. and other areas of the diaspora would hasten the adoption of this unifying language on the continent. The KWANZAA celebration has been gaining observers throughout the diaspora in recent years and there is no reason to believe this trend will not continue.
The Swahili Institute of Chicago (SWITCH) looks forward to working with the launchers of this initiative in any conceivable manner. We have been working in the diaspora since our establishment in 1988 and have a large resource of Swahili language materials and a wide range of clients that includes schools, social organizations, grass roots organizations, government agencies, and private companies, as well as religious and cultural institutions. It is our sincere hope that this initiative will be the longed for and over-due spark that leads to a substantial leap toward our overall goal for this Pan African language and African people at home and throughout the diaspora. As the late great Mwalimu Julius Kabarage Nyerere said, “It can be done, play your part.”


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The Swahili Institute of Chicago (SWITCH) will officially celebrate World Kiswahili Language Day on July, 7, 2023 at 10707 S. Hale Ave., Chicago, Illinois in the Beverly area. July 7th of every year was established to be a global Kiswahili day by UNESCO Member States on November 24, 2021 at its 41st Session in Paris through Resolution 41/C/61.

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7356 South Coles Ave. Unit F
Chicago, Illinois 60649

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Swahili Institute Of Chicago