A study conducted by World Linguistic Agency has rated Uganda the Best English Speaking Country in Africa. This comes in the wake of a video from a Miss Rwanda contestant that was shown struggling with English in a country that made a move from Francophone to Anglophone.
After Uganda, the following countries came in closely; South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Namibia. Despite their strong traditional accent, Nigerians were credited for taking the spot for constructing good sentences that are grammatically flawless.
The full list is here:
2. South Africa
Having been colonized by the British, Uganda attained her Independence in 1962 and since then, she has adopted almost everything from Britain from education to making English as an official language in the East African country.
English is the main language of instruction in all Ugandan schools- right from elementary (pre-primary/ nursery), primary, high school to university/college.
Despite the fact that the government recently instructed schools to teach vernacular (local languages), English has been maintained in the school curriculum.
Uganda is a multi-lingual nation with over 60 languages ( and other forms of dialects) which is one of the main reasons besides being colonized by the British in the past, the government chose English as the official as a neutralizing factor amid different ethnicities.
What about other countries?
Unlike Uganda, neighboring countries likes like Kenya and Tanzania, have two official languages- Kiswahili and English where the former is mostly spoken and the latter to some extent.
Rwanda, which fell out from Francophone (French-speaking countries) to Anglophone (English countries) political divide, is slowly embracing English from French as it’s a medium of communication, now that it is part of East African Community (EAC) were English is heavily used.
In 2015, one of the contenders in the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant known as, Uwase Honorine, could hardly answer questions in English after she was asked by a panel of judges during the competition.
In West Africa, countries like Nigeria and Ghana that are known to speak English have often faced widespread criticism over their ‘thick’ accents.
Spoken English words are often mixed with a heavy tone of pidgin, which perhaps, confuses many foreigners who find it had to grasp the spoken words.
While in South Africa, foreigners have fallen victims of xenophobic attacks, where South African citizens often single out non- citizens by listening to their accents that they locally term as ‘kwara kwara.’
So for, travelers and tourist who wish to visit African countries without going through the bustle and hustle of explaining yourself in English, countries like Uganda may be considered.
Ugandans are known to be generally friendly and hospitable, a virtue that works hand in hand with good communication competence like speaking English.
However, one has to bear in mind that in all African countries (including Uganda), their subtle challenges that an English speaker will have to get accustomed to in order to comprehend any communication with time like colloquial expressions and cultural in jock that might not appeal to you.
For instance Ugandan might say ‘I want to make short call’ to mean to go to the bath- room, ‘Could you extend?’ to mean moving over or ‘I will beep/ flash you’ to mean a short phone call without necessary talking, sometimes to save credit (air time) for future use.
Some words in Swahili—a widely spoken language in East African— fall under East African English in the dictionaries like an askari to mean a security guard, matooke to mean green banana or posho which means maize flour.