CNN | 5/26/2018 | Español | Listen

Twitter now speaks Swahili. Poa sana!

Updated 11:38 AM ET, Tue May 15, 2018

(CNN) - After years of hashtags and outcries, Twitter now recognizes Swahili, one of East Africa's most common languages.

And that's poa sana -- or as Twitter would tell you, pretty awesome.

The social media platform now offers translation for the language spoken by tens of millions in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and some parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It's unclear when Twitter started recognizing Swahili. Before that, it described Swahili tweets as Indonesian and translated them into a mumbo jumbo (or mambo, in Swahili) of incoherent words.

The recognition comes after a campaign by Kenyans on social media, who regularly used hashtags #SwahiliIsNotIndonesian and #TwitterRecognizeSwahili on the social media platform to demand recognition.

The social media platform is popular among Africans, who use it to amplify their concerns and create online communities. Africans on Twitter also use it to celebrate their cultures, air their grievances or just share a good joke.

Kenyans are among the most active social media users in Africa.

"We discuss life, love, politics, philosophy, and all else one would expect," says Mark Kaigwa, founder of the African digital strategy consultancy Nendo.

They also use the network to crowd-fund for campaigns and highlight the positive side of Africa.


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