The Research Institute of Swahili Studies of Eastern Africa was mooted way back in the year 2000. It took shape in the year 2004 and in 2007 a fully fledged director was appointed to head the institution.Its headquarters is in Mombasa and has a campus in Lamu, Nairobi and Malindi.
The Research institute of Swahili Studies of Eastern Africa (RISSEA) was borne out of a felt need and desire to coordinate Swahili scholarships. Currently there is no Institution in Kenya and the Region that has assumed such a mandate even though great strides have been made by public universities and other institutions in the development of Kiswahili.
Similarly it is an established fact that the cradle of Kiswahili is in the Coast of Kenya, which as a Nation, Kenya should ideally be in the forefront in Swahili scholarship.
Furthermore, NMK as the host Institution is ideally placed as it is the custodian of Kenya’s cultural heritage.
In spite of the above credentials, there has been no full fledged Institution in Kenya and the region to function as the focal point of Swahili studies. RISSEA was therefore established to fill the conspicuous gap and need of Swahili experts and students.
Student at the Gede Ruins
With the spread and development of Kiswahili as the lingua franca of the region, the institute will be the reference point for governments, schools and institutions of higher learning. In Kenya for example there are moves to entrench Kiswahili to be the second official language in addition to English in the new constitutional dispensation (bilingualism).
In the region, the institute should serve as one of the reference platform for the proposed East African Swahili council. In a wider East African region kiswahili has the potential to serve as a medium of economical, political and social integration. This will have the effect of enhancing harmony and understanding among people of the region and beyond as envisaged in our vision 2030 and other planning documents.
To be a world class institution that undertakes Research and Training on Swahili society.
To conduct research and training on the history, culture and language of the Swahili so as to enhance Swahili scholarship.
Swahili Arts and Craft Department
Swahili Arts and Craft Department was established to revitalize and promote Swahili material culture and alleviate unemployment challenges among the youths through training.The Department admits young Men and Women to train in Swahili Carvings, Joinery, Building restoration, Swahili Kofia making, Dress making and Embroidery. The course duration varies from one to two years depending on the specialization.
The Department has a production unit in the respective specialization areas:-
- Woodwork Building restoration Dressmaking and Embroidery
- The production unit is an income generating project whereby we accept orders from individuals and cooperates clientele, while the training section is aimed at offering job opportunities to the surrounding community youths.
This section gives chances to our trainees to engage with real day to day activities that give them opportunity to acquire a practical training while revenue generated by the uni strengthen and supports insitutional objectives and goals.
Even though RISSEA headquarters is in Mombasa the Liaison office was formed in order to serve the multitude of enquiries on Swahili Lessons and about RISSEA in general. The Liaison office at the National Museums Headquarters provides lessons to students on Kiswahili language. The modern and rapid forces of globalization have resulted in disappearance of authentic and traditional Swahili arts and craft to the detriment of the pride and history of the Swahili, the liaison office hence documents Swahili culture on DVD’S, Magazines, Brochures and provides web content on the website.
An outlet has been put up at the Nairobi National Museums for Swahili Furniture and accessories to enable people to have easier and better access to quality and authentic Swahili products
The Liaison office also On February 4, 2013, hosted a Day of Cultural Expressions at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi. Although a first time event it proved to be very successful and there is a general agreement and desire by all participating parties, RISSEA and participating embassies to make this an annual event.
In a wider East Africa region Kiswahili and the Swahili culture have the potential to serve as a medium of economical, political and social integration. This in effect enhances harmony and understanding among people in the region and beyond.
For further information contact:
RISSEA Coordinator Mombasa: Mr. Mbarak Abdulqadir
P.O.Box 90508-80100 Mombasa, Kenya
Tel: +254734060004/ +254717721368
RISSEA Coordinator Nairobi: Mrs.Munira Mohamed
Tel: +2547222611533 or +254-20-8164134/2319/59