TUKI Dictionary English to Swahili: credits

The long awaited TUKI English-Swahili Dictionary is at last in print and ready for its users. Having taken sixty years of waiting, fourteen years of preparation, the heavy and difficult task has now exposed the brains and energy of lexicographers, academic members and the administrative staff of the Institute of Kiswahili Research who consistently and continuously devoted themselves to its accomplishment. However, it would have been far from being complete had it not been for the assistance of others outside the Institute. This dictionary, which is not only new but also the biggest ever among Kiswahili dictionaries is a result of serious and doughty teams of the Institute who spent their precious time on the over 50,000 entries in order to introduce language learners and dictionary users into current language usage. A dictionary of this kind and size needs concerted efforts of many people especially when it is taken into account that the whole work, from compilation to printing, was done in house. The teams that accomplished this work included Lexicographers, Editors, Secretaries, Proofreaders and members of the printing section.


The first panel took place on 30/7/82 and was chaired by Prof. G. Mhina, who was assisted by Mr. C.W. Temu. This beginning of the great task included the following lexicographers:- Z.N. Tumbo-Masabo, A.R. Chuwa, P. Mbughuni, R. Ohly, H.J.M. Mwansoko, A. MacWilliam, H. Akida, Y. Mganga, J.S. Mdee, C.M.T. Bwenge and M.M.R. Alidina. Unfortunately most of these could not continue with the project to its logical conclusion. To them, we wish to express the Institute’s sincere thanks for all their input. We believe that using this dictionary will mean and remind them a lot of things. This team, at different times and stages got support from other members of the Institute. We need to specifically mention the team of Lexicographers which really deserve to be congratulated for their patience and tolerance from the beginning to the end.

Team Members

  • Dr. J.S. Mdee – Team Leader
  • Dr. Z.N. Tumbo-Masabo
  • Prof. H.J.M. Mwansoko
  • Dr. A.R. Chuwa.
  • Dr. J.G. Kiango
  • Prof. A.M. Khamisi
  • Sister A. MacWilliam
  • Dr. E.K. Chiduo


In October 1990 the compilation of the TUKI dictionary English to Swahili was over. A team of seven editors was formed (with only four going to the end of the work). The number came down after the real extent of the work ahead was known to them all. Those who opted out might have realized what lay ahead of them. The team of four Editors spent a lot of time in bringing this project to shape. Our sincere gratitudes go to this team below:

  • Prof. D.P.B. Massamba – Team Leader
  • Prof. A.M. Khamisi
  • Prof. S.A.K. Mlacha
  • Mr. R. Mabala

Technical Editors

The manuscript was submitted to Technical Editors in order to accomplish the task of giving the dictionary a consistent format, taking into account technical aspects of dictionary making. Our thanks go to the following members of the team:

  • Prof. A.M. Khamisi (Chief Editor)
  • Prof. S.A.K. Mlacha

Some help was received from Prof. D.P.B. Massamba and Mr. M.M.R. Alidina. We wish to express our appreciation for that.


A special team of three was formed to deal with proofreading. For several months each of them looked at each and every letter of this dictionary for more than two times. It is true that, despite their great efforts, such a big work could not be error free. We highly appreciate what they did and congratulate them for doing this within very limited time. It is here that we should give allowance to human errors, since it was a work done with great care. These thanks go to the following:

  • Prof. S.A.K. Mlacha – Team Leader
  • Prof. H.J.M. Mwansoko
  • Dr. A.R. Chuwa

At this stage we also wish to acknowledge the observations and opinions of Dr. Z. Tumbo-Masabo, Dr. J.G. Kiango and Dr. J.S. Mdee who also proofread the manuscript at least once. It was a great contribution.

Secretarial Team

Indeed, this whole work would not have been done by the above mentioned teams within reasonable time if it was not for dedicated members of the Institute’s secretarial services. The history of the TUKI Dictionary English to Swahili passed through manual and electric typewriters to computers. These members were actively involved and moved with those historical and technological developments. This needed understanding, love, care, commitment and great dexterity. The typing and typesetting of this Second Edition was mainly the work of this team to whom our devoted thanks go.

  • Miss Salome Mlingi – Team Leader
  • Miss Judith Stephen
  • Miss Apronia Stephen
  • Mr. Iddi Mkriti
  • Mr. Aminieli Muwanga.

Special thanks should go to Miss Salome Mlingi and Miss Judith Stephen who, frankly, relive the history of this dictionary. Tirelessly, from the first panel to the last proofs, they had been actively involved. The many hours and energy they lost on this dictionary will always be remembered.

Printing Team

Printing of this dictionary has been done at the Institute using the manpower of committed members at all the stages. To them it has been an experience while the Institute will never forget their innovative minds and fast thinking. It is a team that managed to make possible what was initially seen as impossible. This team included:

  • Mr. I. Omari – Team Leader
  • Mr. E. Semzaba Mr. M. Mrisho
  • Mr. M. Rangi Miss A. Stephen
  • Mr. J. Mlacha Mr. M. Simba
  • Miss J. Stephen Mr. M. Kisimikwe
  • Mr. H. Selemani Mr. D. Mwenda

This team will also join us in appreciating the great help we got from Ms. L. Kombe, Ms P. Kuhanga and A. Muwanga who over and above their normal duties played a great role in preparing the manuscript for printing. Special thanks go to Mr. I. Omari and J. Mlacha who played a significant role in handling the machines.


As it will have been observed, this dictionary would not have been in its present state if at any one stage of its history it would have fallen under the hands of uncaring leadership. It is a dictionary that was supervised by four Directors from 1982 as seen below:

  • Mr. C.W. Temu (1982 – 1985)
  • Prof. D.P.B. Massamba (1985 – 1991)
  • Dr. T.S.Y. Sengo (1991 – 1994)
  • Prof. S.A.K. Mlacha (1994 – 2000)

It is through their leadership and concern that, at long last, this new and great dictionary is now in use. Special thanks should be directed to them all. We also wish to express our thanks to other former Directors. It is impossible to expunge their names from our records since they encouraged the idea of having this dictionary prepared. These are Prof. G.A. Mhina and Prof. A.M. Khamisi.

Our sincere thanks go to the University administration which gave us all the necessary support we wanted to accomplish this task. This could not have been easy if it was not for the University Council’s keen interest in seeing that the work is carried out successfully to its final stage. We wish to express our gratitudes to:

  • The Councillors (1982 – 2000)
  • The Senators (1982 – 2000)
  • Mr. N.A. Kuhanga, Former Vice-Chancellor (UDSM)
  • Prof. G.V. Mmari, Former Vice-Chancellor (UDSM)
  • Prof. M.L. Luhanga, Vice-Chancellor (UDSM).

The different types of support we received from them cannot be easily enumerated. At long last, we have managed to deliver what they were all waiting for and that their support was worthwhile. I am especially indebted to Prof. M.L. Luhanga for his continuous support and encouragement. Taking this project as part of his projects was more than what any Institution would expect from a Vice-Chancellor. His great concern and close monitoring on the progress of the work gave us the energy to have it completed this year.

External Support

It has now been clear that single – handedly this dictionary would not have come out. We wish to express our deeply felt gratitudes to Canadian Organization for Development in Education (CODE) Eastern Africa for the great support they gave us in terms of printing materials. This immeasurable support can not be expressed in words. It remains in our minds and hearts. Personally, I wish to thank Mr. Scott Walter, who was then the Director of CODE Eastern Africa. As the then Institute’s Coordinator of Publications I approached him with our request and since then he has left me with memories of a non lexicographer very much committed to the world of dictionary making. His understanding and pursuit of our problem has resulted into this treasure while making CODE and Scott Walter sound synonymous in the ears of members of the Institute. The support of a computer and printer we received from Norwegian Council of Universities (NUFU) has resulted into the prints we now read. Our many thanks to NUFU. While to CODE (Canada) and NUFU (Norway) this is history, we have these fresh memories of close relationships with the two organizations representing the two countries. To us then, this was support to the whole English to Swahili world.

Second Edition

This second edition was meticulously edited by Prof. A.M. Khamisi, proofread by Prof. S.A.K. Mlacha and typeset by Miss S. Mlingi. The SIDA/SAREC and NUFU support contributed alot in making the editorial work a success.

To all those above and those others who directly or indirectly supported us to this end, we express our sincere thanks. We have great hopes for continued relationship.

Institute of Kiswahili Research

Prof. S.A.K. Mlacha
University of Dar es Salaam

5th May, 2000.