SOAS University of London

African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Professor Chege Githiora

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Chege Githiora
African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, African Languages and Literatures

Centre of African Studies

Management Committee Member

Centre for Translation Studies (CTS)

Steering Committee Member

SOAS World Languages Institute


Professor Chege Githiora
Email address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings


Professor Githiora is author of many peer reviewed journal articles and books published in English, Swahili, Spanish, Gĩkũyũ - monolingually, bilingually and in translation. Among them, Diccionario Swahili-Español, Mexico: El Colegio de México (2002),  Afro-Mexicans: Discourse of Race and Identity in the African Diaspora, Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press (2008), and Unmarked Grave, Nairobi: Phoenix Publishing (2017), a translation of the Swahili original, Kaburi Bila Msalaba, (1969). His latest book, Sheng: Rise of a Kenyan Swahili Vernacular, London: James Currey (2018), is a ground-breaking linguistic study of Sheng, a popular variety of Kenyan Swahili. It is based on detailed research into the dynamics and complexities of multilingualism and language stratification in Nairobi City. The book also explores constructions of African (youth) identities under conditions of cultural mobility, ethnic diversity, and global interconnectedness.

Professor Chege Githiora has previously taught at El Colegio de México (Mexico), Boston University (USA) and Kenyatta University (Kenya). He is a current member of the Modern Languages Advisory Board, of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). He is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of African Cultural Studies (JACS).

githiora chege publications AFR IMG 485 186 56


PhD Students supervised
  • Francisca Everduim, Morphosyntactic Variation in Bantu
  • Jinjian Li, Nyerere and Post-Colonial Swahili Literature (working title)
  • Youru Zhou, Translation in the Chinese Translation Industry: The Product, Process and Quality Assurance
Convenor of the Swahili Year Abroad programme.

PhD Supervision
  1. Dr. Caroline Mose, ‘Kenyan Hip-hop: Interrogating Socio- Political Interventions of Popular Youth Culture in Nairobi’ (SOAS PhD Awarded June 2012).
  2. Dr. Ida Hadjivayanis, ‘Swahili Translation: Socio-cultural specificity of Norms’ SOAS Ph.D. (Awarded June 2012)
  3. Dr. Jean Seraphim Kamdem, ‘The Acquisition of functional skills in bilingual adult literacy programmes: Case studies from Cameroon’, SOAS PhD awarded in May 2010.
  4. Internal Examiner: Dr. Matthew Muriuki, ‘The Sacred Mũgumo Tree: Revisiting the Roots of Gĩkũyũ Cosmology and Worship. A Case A Study of the Gĩcũgũ Gĩkũyũ of Kĩrĩnyaga District in Kenya’ SOAS. (PhD awarded in May 2006.)
  5. Internal Examiner for: Dr. Ann Schumann. PhD. January 14, 2011. (SOAS Ph.D. Awarded June 2011.)
  6. External Examiner, Dr. Timothy Wambunya, ‘The dead are not far: Luyia Paremiology with special references to gender, sexuality, death and God’. University of Wales. (PhD Awarded March 2013.)
  7. Internal Examiner, Dr. Nathalie Montlouise, ‘Lords and Empresses in and Out of Babylon: The EABIC Community and the dialectic of female subordination’ (SOAS PhD Awarded June 2013)
  8. External Examiner, Dr. Teferi Degeneh, ‘The Development of Oromo Writing System,’ University of Kent, PhD Awarded 2015)



African linguistics, multilingualism and language policy, dialectology, lexicography, African culture and literature in African languages, (oral and written), translation theory and practice, the African Diaspora in Latin America.


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Available for
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  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
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Regional Expertise
  • Africa
  • Latin America
Country Expertise
  • Gikuyu
  • Spanish
  • Swahili


Authored Books

Githiora, Chege (2018) Sheng: Rise of a Kenyan Swahili Vernacular. London: James Currey.

Githiora, Chege (2009) Marũa Ma Maitũ. London: JC Press.

Githiora, Chege (2008) Afro-Mexicans: Discourse of Race and Identity in the African Diaspora. Trenton, New Jersey, USA: Africa World Press.

Githiora, Chege (2002) Diccionario Swahili-Español. [Swahili-Spanish Dictionary]. Mexico: El Colegio de Mexico.


Githiora, Chege (2016) 'Sheng: The Expanding Domains of an Urban Vernacular'. Journal of African Cultural Studies, (30) 2, pp 105-120.

Githiora, Chege (2012) 'Radio and Minority African Languages'. Journal of African Cultural Studies, (25) 1.

Githiora, Chege (2011) 'Afro-Mexicans: The Third Root of Mexico'. Journal of African Renaissance, (8) 2, pp 10-24.

Githiora, Chege (2011) 'Striking back at the Empire: The Mau Mau Case in London'. Annual review, Centre of African Studies, University of London, (2) 1, pp 2-5.

Githiora, Chege (2002) 'Sheng: Peer Language, Swahili Dialect or Emerging Creole?'. Journal of African Cultural Studies, (15) 2, pp 159-81.

Githiora, Chege (2001) 'Some Problems and Insights in the Lexicography of Two Non-Kindred Languages: Spanish and Swahili'. Èdè: Journal of African Language Learning and Teaching, (1) 1, pp 49-71.

Edited Books or Journals

Githiora, Chege, (ed.), (2012) Waswifu wa Ahmed Sheikh Nabhany. London: JC Press.

Githiora, Chege, (ed.), (2010) Kwandĩka Gĩgĩkũyũ Wega. London: JC Press.

Githiora, Chege, (ed.), (2007) The Ten Shillings and Other Stories: An Anthology of Short Stories from All Over Africa.. Nairobi: MacMillan Kenya.

Githiora, Chege and Manfredi, V. and Littlefield, Heather, (eds.), (2004) Trends in African Linguistics, Volume 5. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press (USA).

Book Chapters

Githiora, Chege (2008) 'Kenya: Language and the Search for a Coherent National Identity'. In: Simpson, Andrew, (ed.), Language and National Identity in Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Githiora, Chege (2006) 'Countries and Languages of the World: Kenya'. In: Brown, Keith, (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp 18-182.

Githiora, Chege (2005) 'Countries and Languages of the World: Kenya'. In: Brown, Keith, (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp 80-83.

Githiora, Chege (2004) 'Gikuyu Orthography: Past and Future Horizons'. In: Githiora, Chege and Littlefield, Heather and Manfredi, V., (eds.), Kinyira Njira! - Step Firmly on the Pathway!. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, pp 85-95.


Githiora, Chege (2017) 'Unmarked Grave: A Story of the Mau Mau War' .

Conference Items

Githiora, Chege (2015) 'The Logic of Sheng and Its Impact on Kenya's Linguistic Ecology' In: International Conference on African Urban Youth Languages, December 11-13, 2015, Kenyatta University, Nairobi. [Unpublished]

Githiora, Chege (2013) 'Kukuza Fasihi ya Kiswahili Duniani kwa njia ya Tafsiri' In: Annual Conference of Chama Cha Kiswahili Cha Afrika Mashariki (CHAKAMA), Nairobi, August 21-22, 2013. [Unpublished]

Githiora, Chege (2013) 'The rise and rise of Sheng: language and identity in modern Kenya.' In: Sheng Language in Kenya: Structure, Uses and Pedagogy, July 16, 2013, IFRA, Nairobi, Kenya. [Unpublished]

Githiora, Chege (2012) 'The Nairobi Process and the Context for the Foundations for the Future.' In: The Nairobi Process and the Foundations for the Future, 27 Feb 2012, London. [Unpublished]

Githiora, Chege (2011) 'African Contributions to Regional Identities in the Americas: The case of Mexico' In: AfroXXI Conference, November 15-19, 2011, Bahia, Brazil. [Unpublished]

Githiora, Chege (2011) 'Issues and Challenges of Inter-African Language Translation' In: African Languages and Translation Sub-Saharan African Research Network, 11 March, 2011, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Warwick. [Unpublished]

Githiora, Chege (2010) 'Kiswahili ng’ambo: Mbinu za kuikuza Lugha' In: Research Institute Swahili Studies Eastern Africa International Conference, Nov 17-20, 2010, Mombasa, Kenya. [Unpublished]

Githiora, Chege (2004) 'Form and function in a Swahili urban dialect'.

Githiora, Chege (2004) 'Creative writing in African languages: Production Mediation, Reception'.


Githiora, Chege (2014) 'Sheng, Urban Youth Vernacular of Kenya Lecture'. [Unpublished]


Githiora, Chege (2002) 'Pimsleur Language Program: Swahili'.


This list was last generated on Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 19:45 Europe/London.