Our editors

Based in Germany, a team of Swahili scholars from Europe and Eastern Africa is working together in editing and publishing Swahili Forum. The editors are supported by an exquisite editorial board which consists of Swahili scholars and intellectuals of international renown.

Anthropology, University of Trier, Germany.

  • Post-doc Researcher
  • Editor of Swahili Forum since 2011.

Research Interests in Media Anthropology, Migration/Refugees and Social Media in East Africa, Swahili Film.

For further information see my homepage.
Email: boehme[at]uni-trier.de

Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium / Leiden University

  • Linguist / Swahili lecturer.
  • Editor of Swahili Forum since 2008.

Research Interests: Bantu descriptive and comparative linguistics, grammaticalization, Mozambican Swahili dialects, Swahili linguistics

For further information see my homepage.
Email: maud.devos[at]africamuseum.be

Department of African Studies, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany.

  • Lecturer in Swahili Language and Literature
  • Editor of Swahili Forum since 2000

Research interests in contemporary Swahili literature, comparative East African literature, Swahili terminology, and East African colonial and post-colonial history.

For further information see my homepage
Email: lutz.diegner[at]asa.hu-berlin.de

Department of "Asia, African and Mediterranean", University of Naples "L'Orientale", Italy.
Department "Literaturen in Afrikanischen Sprachen" (BIGSAS associated), University of Bayreuth, Germany.

  • PhD student.
  • Editor of Swahili Forum since 2015.

Research Interests: East-African Literatures, Comparative Literature, Theories and practices of Translation, Aesthetics of Literature, Hermeneutics, Philosophy.
Email: roberto.lumuli.gaudioso[at]gmail.com

Department of Kiswahili, Institute of African Studies, Kenyatta University, Kenya

  • Lecturer in Kiswahili Literature since 1987
  • Editor for Swahili Forum since 2015

Research interests in: political discourse, Kiswahili literature (gender issues, oral literature, translated Kiswahili, novel and play, children's literature, Sheng, contemporary Kiswahili, literature and curriculum development and implementation in Kiswahili and African Languages)

Emailt: ndungo.catherine[at]ku.ac.ke, catemndungo[at]gmail.com

Asien-Afrika-Institut, Hamburg University, Germany

  • Lecturer of Swahili
  • Editor of Swahili Forum since 2003.

Research Interests: Swahili language and literature, Swahili popular culture (literature and music), African orature, youth language in Tansania, teaching of Swahili as a foreign language.

For further information see my homepage.
Email: uta.reuster-jahn[at]uni-hamburg.de

Department of Literature, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

  • Lecturer of Literature since 2004.
  • Editor for Swahili Forum since 2015

Research Interests: Swahilophone and Anglophone Literature, Gender and Literary Criticism, Educational Studies.

Email: sekwiha.gwajima[at]udsm.ac.tz

Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth, Germany.

  • Research Fellow.
  • Lecturer for Swahili Language since 2015.
  • Editor of Swahili Forum since 2015.

Research Interests: Swahili Language and Literature, Translation History, Postcolonial Translation Theories, Sociology of Translation, Cognitive Linguistics, Corpus Linguistics.

For further information see my homepage.
Email: serena.talento[at]uni-bayreuth.de

Afrikanistik I, Bayreuth University, Germany.

  • Professor of African Languages.
  • Editor of Swahili Forum since 2005.

Research Interests in pragmatic and poetic aspects of African languages as well as historical perspectives of language contact and change in Eastern Africa and lusophone Africa.

For further information see my homepage.
Email: clarissa.vierke[at]uni-bayreuth.de

Department of African Studies, University of Vienna, Austria

  • Senior Lecturer Swahili
  • Post doc researcher
  • Editor of Swahili Forum since 2017

Research Interests: Non-Standard Varieties of Swahili, Swahili and Societies, Swahili Second Language Acquisition and Discourse Analysis, Sociolinguistics, Plurilingualism/ transnational language use, Language and power, Language and history, Employment-tied housing in (post)-colonial Africa: Lubumbashi (DR Congo)

For further information see my homepage.
Email: daniela.waldburger[at]univie.ac.at

  • Rose Marie Beck (1993-2015)
  • Natascha Bing (2012-2018)
  • Irene Brunotti (2012-2017)
  • Thomas Geider (1993-2010 †)
  • Werner Gräbner (1993-2002)
  • Ingo Heine (1997)
  • Jean-de-Dieu Karangwa  (2015-2017 †)
  • Manuela Kirberg (2012-2015)
  • Angelus Mnenuka (2015-2019)
  • Nico Nassenstein (2017-2020)

Editorial Board

The Editorial Board of Swahili Forum provides advice about the content and the policy of the journal as and when needed, and comprises esteemed professionals from all major fields within the Swahili Studies to guarantee representation across all fields.

  • Abdilatif Abdalla (University of Leipzig, Germany)
  • Sauda Ali Barwani (University of Hamburg, Germany)
  • Rose Marie Beck (University of Leipzig, Germany)
  • Pat Caplan (Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK)
  • Nelli Gromova (Moscow State University, Russia)
  • Thomas Hinnebusch (University of California, USA)
  • Mark Horton (University of Bristol, UK)
  • Arvi Hurskainen (University of Helsinki, Finland)
  • Said Ahmed Mohamed Khamis (University of Bayreuth, Germany)
  • Geoffrey Kitula King’ei (Kenyatta University, Kenya)
  • Kjersti Larsen (University of Oslo, Norway)
  • Françoise Le Guennec-Coppens (CNRS-LACITO, Paris, France)
  • Gudrun Miehe (University of Bayreuth, Germany)
  • Wilhelm J. G. Möhlig (University of Cologne, Germany)
  • Georges Mulumbwa (University of Lubumbashi, DR Congo)
  • Aldin K. Mutembei (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
  • David Parkin (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Ridder Samsom (University of Hamburg, Germany)
  • Peter Seitel (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Washington D.C., USA)
  • Thilo Schadeberg (Leiden University, Netherlands)
  • Walter Schicho (University of Vienna, Austria)
  • Farouk Topan (The Aga Khan University, London, UK)
  • Saida Yahya-Othman (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
  • Elena Bertoncini Zúbková (University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Italy)
  • Euphrase Kezilahabi (University of Botswana, Botswana)
  • Alain Ricard (CNRS-LAM, Bordeaux, France)

Mungu awalaze mahali pema peponi!

Editorial Advisor and Technical Editor: Irene Brunotti.


Swahili Forum was launched in 1993 by Rose Marie Beck, Thomas Geider and Werner Graebner, with its first issue appearing in 1994. The Forum’s founding was preceded by the endeavors of Swahili scholars from different countries to build up a tighter network of communication on ongoing research in the field. A first initiative was the establishment of the newsletter Swahili Language and Society: Notes and News (SLS: NN), first issued in 1984, edited by Joan Maw, Lourenco Noronha and (from 1989 onwards) Karl Thomanek, at the Institute for African Language Studies, University of Vienna, Austria. The newsletter provided information on researchers, projects, new publications and the teaching of Kiswahili worldwide. Occasionally, short articles and reviews were also published. For lengthier articles relating to ongoing research in Swahili linguistics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics and literary studies, Marcel van Spaandonck and Jan Blommaert initiated the monograph series Working Papers on Kiswahili (WPK), which was published, from 1987 onwards, by the Seminar of Swahili and the Language Problems of Developing Nations, at the University of Ghent, Belgium. By 1993, both WPK and SLS: NN ceased to exist with the release of a final volume (No.10) of the latter, edited by Jan Blommaert at the International Pragmatics Association, Antwerp, Belgium.

Swahili Forum’s founders have attempted to fill this existing gap, so as to provide the international community of Swahili Studies with a consistent platform of scientific articles within the broad field, through the journal. The journal was first published as an annual contribution to the quarterly Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere (AAP), issued by the Institute for African Studies, University of Cologne, Germany. Between 1994 and 2002, Swahili Forum appeared in nine printed issues. Ingo Heine was part of Swahili Forum for the 1997 issue. Since 2000, Lutz Diegner has joined the editorial team. With the transformation of the quarterly AAP to the Annual Publication in African Linguistics (APAL), published since 2003 by Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Cologne, the editors of Swahili Forum were confronted with the decision as to whether the journal should cease to exist or find a new home. This was offered by the Institute for Anthropology and African Studies within the section of African Philology, University of Mainz, Germany. Uta Reuster-Jahn, who was working at the institute in Mainz, joined the editors. Considering the high printing costs and the growing usage of the World Wide Web, the editors decided to begin to issue Swahili Forum as an online publication.  In 2003, with the financial support of the Sulzmann Foundation, Mainz, Swahili Forum 10 was published as the first volume to appear online.

Since 2010, and the death of Thomas Geider, the journal is edited by Rose Marie Beck (University of Leipzig), Claudia Böhme (University of Leipzig), Maud Devos (Royal Africa Museum, Tervuren), Lutz Diegner (Humboldt University Berlin), Uta Reuster-Jahn (University of Hamburg) and Clarissa Vierke (University of Bayreuth). In 2012, the journal found a new home at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and underwent a redesign. With this relocation, Natascha Bing, Irene Brunotti and Manuela Kirberg (all at theUniversity of Leipzig), joined as editors.

Since its beginnings Swahili Forum has greatly profited from the Swahili Colloquium, which was first organized by Gudrun Miehe, in 1987, at the University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and continued to be held in cooperation, first with Said A. M. Khamis and later on with Gabriele Sommer at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. While many of its participants continue to contribute to the journal through their submissions, Swahili Forum has also increasingly attracted authors from East Africa, Europe and a wider international academic community, extending beyond the participants of the Colloquium.  Due to the recent invitation to submit papers on issues covering all aspects under the broad umbrella theme of Swahili Studies, the journal has enormously broadened in terms of its readership. Also, an increasing concern of the authors, working on all aspects of Swahili language, culture, society, politics, history, religion and philosophy, to publish in peer reviewed journals, has led Swahili Forum to be consistently committed in improving its quality as a peer reviewed journal in order to achieve higher standards. Against this background, the editors are eagerly working on a new web presence, a fresh logo and an editorial board with a worldwide reputation.

ISSN 1614-2373