Because it could be done, we play our part!
Swahili Free and Open Source Software.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,
For Immediate Release

As the Father of Tanzania, the late Mwalimu Nyerere will always be remembered by his famous saying: "It can be done; play your part".

Today, 4th December 2004, The Open Swahili Localization Project, also known as Kilinux, is proud to announce the first ever release of a free office suite software in Swahili, called "Jambo OpenOffice."

Jambo OpenOffice is the Swahili version of, a leading international effort to provide a free and open source office suite based on open standards and capable of running on all major computer platforms.

The localization project is a major initiative to provide a full operating system in Swahili. Swahili is the most spoken of the Bantu languages and conservative estimates indicate that is the first language spoken by more than 70 million people, chiefly in Kenya, Tanzania, Congo (Kinshasa), and Uganda. As the chief trade language of East Africa, it is understood by an additional 25 million.

Jambo OpenOffice is the result of the work of a multidisciplinary international team. Among the project members are linguistic experts from the Institute of Swahili Research (TUKI), University of Dar es Salaam Department of Kiswahili, and the National Kiswahili Council (BAKITA), as well as computer scientists from the University of Dar es Salaam Department of Computer Science(DoCS) and numerous dedicated volunteers word wide.

This pioneering effort is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). It is coordinated by the Department of Computer Science (UDSM), Institute of Kiswahili Research (IKR) and the Swedish consultancy company IT+46. The project does not only aim to localize free and open source software into Swahili, but also to create awareness of the benefits of using and extending free software.

Before starting the localization of the 18.000 strings of OpenOffice, the team developed and released a Swahili IT Glossary. The first version of the glossary was released this past October, 2004, and contained over seven hundred computer related terms in English and their Swahili equivalents.

The glossary, validated and graded by several external volunteers, was made freely available under the terms of the Creative Commons ShareAlike license. The license permits others to copy, distribute and display the glossary and simply requires its users to give the original authors credit and keep any derivative works under the same conditions.

This first release of Jambo 1.1.3, fully developed under GNU/Linux, is part of the Kilinux team Quality Assurance methodology.

Dr. Hashim Twaakyondo, overall project coordinator commented: "Our Moto is to localize all Linux components into Swahili. We will all play our part collectively".

"By providing a first version to the Swahili community, we want to ensure that all the feedback and improvements can be integrated into our next official release in February 2005: Jambo OpenOffice for Linux and Microsoft Windows. Today, we clearly show that with free and open source software we can do in four months what proprietary software has never done for the Swahili speakers." -- said Alberto Escudero-Pascual who leads the technical coordination of the project.

The Open Swahili Localization Project (Kilinux) welcomes any interested parties to join the initiative and play part on a collective effort to bring Swahili into the world of Information and Communication Technology.

For more information: - (

Main project coordinator, UDSM
Dr. Hashim Twaakyondo
Phone: +255 22 24 10 657 (office), +255 744 386261 (mobile)

Technical project coordinator, IT +46
Dr. Alberto Escudero Pascual
Phone: +255 745 88 40 04

ICT Project Manager, SIDA
Nils Jensen
Phone: +255 22 21 22 235 (office), +255 744 44 44 80 (mobile)

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