Held in Dar es Salaam during the weekend, the 16th Franco Jeune festival competition brought together 16 high and university students to exchange cultural experiences through writing and reading competition in Kiswahili and French languages. The festival was organised jointly by the Readership for Learning and Development (SOMA) Institute and the Fra.OI organisation.
Speaking at the event, Demere Kitunga, Executive Director, SOMA Institute, said that youth passion of learning French in Tanzania has increased compared to ten years ago.
He said each winner was awarded 100Euros as well as a recognition certificate. The 16 students came from six countries along the Indian Ocean namely Tanzania, Mozambique, Comoros, Djibouti, Madagascar and Mayotte the headquarters of the Fra.OI.
“Public and private schools that teaches French has increased in Tanzania. Today there are many young men and women who can write and speak in French with fluency. Understanding French does not only make one comfortable but it is an opportunity to big connections that can make one earn money through hospitality industry,” said Kitunga.
According to her, the completion helps the students to build learning relationships culture by exchanging written stories in Kiswahili and French. She said this is the first time for such a festival to be hosted in Tanzania since the institute started working with the Fra.OI about two years ago.
Mjuni Kalisti, French Facilitator at SOMA Institute said that the competition was a diverse of contemporary dance, folklore, slam poem, story translation from French to Kiswahili and vice versa and writing a joint poem about Dar es Salaam both in Kiswahili and French.
“French learning has become an interesting profession among youths. To my knowledge there are about 40 primary and secondary schools in Dar es Salaam both private and public that teaches French in their curriculums. There are five public high schools that teach French from two in the late 1990s” said Kalisti.
Anavaileth Felix, a student from the University of Dar es Salaam undergoing a Bachelor of Arts with Education, said that she studied French from ordinary level secondary education to high school thus the festival has been an initiative of strengthening her competence in French.
“My dream was to become a linguistic some day and see the bright future at this stage. My advice to my young brothers and sisters who are in school is to take language subjects as there are plenty of opportunities in this profession,” said Felix.