Submit Paper

All contributions go through an international peer-review process. Paper submissions are accepted in Swahili, English, French and German and should be formatted according to our guidelines. The deadline for submissions to be considered for the following volume is the 31st of January.

Swahili Forum invites you to submit papers on all aspects of Swahili language, culture, society, politics, history, religion, philosophy and whatever can be labeled as Swahili Studies (which is neither a geographically nor an ethnic circumscribed area) as well as book reviews pertaining to these topics. Writers are also welcome to submit original works such as poems or short stories. As well, we invite our contributors to submit bibliographical information on Swahili topics.
Authors should bear in mind that Swahili Forum is an academic peer review journal with a readership commonly well-informed about Swahili Studies and thus ought to relate their writings to the relevant secondary literature.
Papers and reviews will be published in Swahili, English, French and German. All papers should be accompanied by an English (or additionally Swahili) abstract of not more than 250 words. Please also include a brief biographical note about the author.


Please submit your papers in English, Swahili, German or French. All papers should be accompanied by an English (or additionally Swahili) abstract of not more than 250 words and 5 keywords. Please send your contribution via e-mail exclusively as a Word file.

Shortly after a manuscript is submitted, the editor will send a message to acknowledge receipt.


The deadline for the submissions for the next issue is the 31st of January of each year.


Manuscripts should not exceed 8,000 words (excluding bibliography and notes).

Format and Style

  • Format A4 (i.e. 21 cm x 29.7 cm).
  • Top margin 4.5 cm, other margins 2.5 cm.
  • Main text: Times New Roman 12 pt, spacing 16 pt.
  • Quotations: Quotations of three lines or about 50 words should be set off from the main text: 2 cm in from Right Margin, 2 cm in from Left Margin; 12 pt, spacing 12 pt (see also below).
  • Footnotes: 10 pt, single-spaced.
  • Title: the article’s title should be centered and in capitals in 16pt font, bold. Begin with the main title
  • Author’(s) name(s) should be in capitals and centered, just one line below the title.
  • Section headings should be in lowercase and centered with one blank line between title and text. Articles should be divided into sections ranging from 1 to 1.1.1 (max. three levels).
  • Every new paragraph should be intended (0,5 cm) except at the beginning of a chapter and after a citation if there is no new paragraph content wise.


Footnotes should be indicated by superscript arabic numerals and put at the bottom of the same page (10pt; single-spaced).


Authors are asked to provide the references at the end of each article. References should not be numbered; the list should be arranged alphabetically by authors’ last names. References cited in the text should be referred to by the name/date system (Greenberg 1952: 14), or (Pype 2007: 257-264), or (Edley & Wetherell 1999: 107) or (Mulokozi & Sengo 2005: 109-115). For three or more authors use 'et al.', but in the reference list, all co-authors should be mentioned.

Ibid. and c. should be set in italics, with a full stop. E.g. and i.e. may be used in the footnotes but not in the main text.

References should have the following format:

  • Article from a journal:
    Gromov, Mikhail D. 1998. Nagona and Mzingile - Novel, Tale or Parable? Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere (AAP) 55: Swahili Forum V: 73–78.
  • Chapters in a book:
    Schulze-Engler, Frank. 1993. Discourses of Arrested Modernization: African Literary Theory in the 1980s. African Literatures in the Eighties (Matatu No. 10), ed. by Frank Schulze-Engler & Dieter Riemenschneider. Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi. pp. 9-26.
  • Monographs:
    Bertoncini-Zúbková, Elena. 1989. An Outline of Swahili Literature, Leiden & New York.
  • Theses:
    Brown, S. D. 1999. The US Organization: African-American Cultural Nationalism in the Era of Black Power, 1965 to the 1970s. PhD, Cornell University.
  • Websites:
    Swahili Remix Staff Writer. 2008. English Subtitles not Necessary! 25–08–2008. (last visited 05–12–2008).
  • Interviews:
    Name Surname, interview by author on 12th December 2010, Dar es Salaam. Acknowledgements must be located at the end of your article, before the References.

Orthography of African Languages

Foreign words (except proper names) and the title of literary works and other artworks should be italicized with translation in brackets (use ‘’ for the translation of the artwork’s title).
Citations from African languages should keep to the established orthography in the respective country/countries. If there is no established orthography, please use the respective symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet.


Dates should be in the style 10th November 2012, the 1990s, 1961–1985.


Numerals under 100 should be spelt out except percentages.

Quotations and quote marks

Double quotation marks “ ” should be used, with single marks ‘ ’ for any quotation within a quotation. Quotations of more than fifty words should be indented (2cm left and 2cm right), and in this case no quotation marks are needed.

  • Kwa kuzingatia kazi hizi za fasihi, twaweza kusema kwamba waandishi wote hawa wamo kwenye tapo moja kwani wametunga sanaa zao hizi, tukiazima kauli ya Stephen M. Hart, kwa “kusawiri uhalisia kama ulivyo hasa lakini kwa kujumuisha vipengele vya kimazingaombwe” (Hart 2003: 115).
  • Kithaka is the most innovative Kenyan poet. As Mikhail Gromov puts it,
    The poetry of Kithaka wa Mberia [...] still mainly lies outside the focus of attention of literary critics in the poet’s native Kenya as well as outside the country. However, his poems could be considered as being the most inventive – especially from the stylistic point of view – in contemporary Kenyan art de verse. Kithaka wa Mberia is one of the very few modern Kiswahili poets who use free verse, employing traditional poetic patterns only as allusions. (2006: 109f)
  • Only the first two collections will be examined here; special stress will be laid on the first one, Mchezo wa karata, whereas Gromov has analysed the second one, Bara jingine.


Generally USA, UK, PhD, Dr, Ms etc. However, in bibliographic references, use ed. for editor, but eds for editors. Initials are spaced: E. Z. Bertoncini.


Use British English.

Spelling of countries

The Gambia; Tanzania; Uganda; Côte d’Ivoire.

Spelling of regions

West Africa; East Africa; North Africa; Southern Africa; Central Africa; Western Province; Morogoro District; The North; The South. But eastern Africa; western Africa.


US$300,000; Ksh20; Tsh 20 million.


All tables must be clearly numbered, cited in the text and included in the Word file at the end of the manuscript after the references. Authors who wish to submit tables as supplementary materials should contact The Editors via email.


Figures, tables, and equations must be properly referred to in the text and numbered sequentially using Arabic numerals, be referred to as ‘Fig. 1’, ‘Figs. 6 and 7’, etc. An accompanying figure legend (at the end of the Word document after the references) and the correct reference to sources must be included.

Graphs should be saved at 1200dpi and as TIFF or EPS files. Photographs should be saved at 300dpi and as JPEG and/or TIFF files.

Figure’s size of reproduction should be maximum 120mm x160mm. Make sure you have the copy right for the figures or photos.

Peer Review and Publication Process

Swahili Forum follows a double-blind review where the identities of authors and reviewers are hidden from each other.
If your paper is not suitable for the scope of Swahili Forum and does not follow the rules and quality of scientific writing the editors may reject your paper outright. If fitting, your article will be sent to one of the external peer reviewers who will make suggestions and comments for the revision of the paper and respective recommendations to the editors. The editors will then inform you if your paper is accepted in its present form, accepted with minor or major revisions, rejected or rejected with the option to resubmit a new version.

The whole peer review process will take about two to three months but can be delayed when reviewers are busy. If suitable after revision your paper will be finally accepted and published with Swahili Forum.

Open Access Policy

To make knowledge and research of Swahili Forum freely accessible to a wider global public we offer immediate open access to the journals contents. We believe that this availability will inspire and foster communication and exchange of information and knowledge.

download our guidelines

The journal allows the authors to hold the copyright and the publishing rights without restrictions; it has no Creative-Commons-Licence.
Submitted papers can only be accepted for publication if they have neither been published nor are being considered for publication elsewhere. If your paper has been published in another language or form you must inform the editors. Please note that Swahili Forum does only publish one article per author and year. While having the right to make modifications, the editors will not make major amendments without the author’s consent.
Authors are not charged for their manuscripts' review and publication.
Authors are responsible for the reproduction of any material in which they do not hold copyright, obtain authorization and show proof of it. They also should include the specific acknowledgements in their manuscript.

Private information concerning the contributors entered in Swahili Forum site will be used only for the defined objectives of this journal and will not be made accessible for any other purpose or party.

Quality Management

The papers selected are intended to disseminate research findings and stimulate debate on specific topics or issues. Swahili Forum is today reinforcing its qualitative perspective and aims on various levels.

All our editors, former and current, have a strong academic background and knowledge on the contents published in Swahili Forum and are active in the field, although they reckon the cooperation with our peer-reviewers an essential prerequisite in ensuring the high quality of the journal.

Our peer-reviewing process is based on a double-blind review of the articles submitted by experts active in the field in order to improve the first drafts of the pre-selected papers. These reviewers provide feedback to the authors on the quality and standing of their work. This is an essential and rigorous process helping the authors to improve the quality of their papers and allowing the editors to proceed to the final reviewing stage and an assessment of their suitability for publication. The editors reserve the right for final acceptance (or rejection) of the submitted papers.

Since June 2012, the contents of Swahili Forum publications are included in EBSCO information products. All publications which appear in Swahili Forum respond to the quality standards requested and will be searchable through EBSCOhost, delivering a better service to researchers, scholars, instructors and students. Swahili Forum is also a member of DOAJ and can be widely found on all important data bases for open access journals.

Next to the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library) and the Library of the University of Leipzig, all articles of Swahili Forum are searchable in more than 300 full text and secondary research of Swahili Forum are searchable in more than 300 full text and secondary research databases.


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Swahili Forum

Universität Leipzig

Institut für Afrikastudien
Postfach 100920

04009 Leipzig

Telephone: +49 341 97370-30
Telefax: +49 341 97370 48

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DOAJ since 2005
ISSN 1614-2373