The University of Iowa

Lecture on Kiswahili and political discourse in Tanzania Feb. 23

February 17th, 2010

Deogratias Ngonyani, associate professor of linguistics and African languages at Michigan State University, will give a talk titled “Kiswahili and Political Discourse in Tanzania” at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, in Room 2520D of the University Capitol Centre in downtown Iowa City. The talk, sponsored by the University of Iowa African Studies Program, is free and open to the public.

Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first president, had a major impact on changing his people’s perceptions in political debates. Nyerere’s position was often diametrically opposed to popular public sentiments. In office for 21 years, he consciously sought to groom the Tanzanian identity and minimize the detrimental effects of competing ethnic or regional identities by framing the debates in a language to which the general public could easily relate.

Ngonyani’s paper is a contribution to the study of Nyerere’s metaphors in his war against discrimination and racial prejudices. His primary research and teaching interests are in language description, the morphosyntax of Bantu languages, particularly how morphological structure is related to phrasal structure, and comparative-historical studies of Southern Tanzanian languages.

The African Studies Program is part of UI International Programs. Visit

For more information, call Amy Green at 319-335-1433 or visit