Alumnus launches KARIBANI: an African language marketplace

KARIBANI logo, a speech bubble/ globe structure with Africa shaped in the middle

Dr Ayodeji Akiwowo completed his Civil and Building Engineering PhD in 2012 and has recently set up an online website to help people learn African languages.

KARIBANI is an online platform that offers interactive learning courses. The marketplace caters to a variety of levels ranging from beginner to advanced abilities. The website offers a large number of free beginner courses in addition to several paid courses at various levels. The language marketplace offers courses including Efik, Igbo, Swahili and Yoruba 

Native speakers with experience of teaching languages are at the forefront of the service. The African language marketplace launched in February 2023 after three years in the making and many of KARIBANI’s courses are due to expand as of April 2023. There are opportunities to register interest on the platforms’ website.  

When speaking about the platform, Dr Akiwowo said: 

“KARIBANI celebrates the richness of the diverse languages and culture in Africa. We want to bring our languages to Africans in diaspora and lovers of Africa in the UK and around the world. Our vision is to become the leading platform for African language learning, promoting cultural understanding and diversity while preserving the continent's rich cultural heritage.” 

The African language marketplace also offers people the opportunity to teach African languages on the platform. The website allows prospective teachers to create and launch their own course using templates provided or via their own teaching methods, often consisting of short snappy lessons 

KARIBANI is made to preserve and promote African languages that are in danger of being lost. Its main aims are to promote cross-cultural understanding and to help maintain knowledge of African languages and cultures for future generations. To target more audiences, the service also offers a range of toys, books and other instructional tools that families and schools can use to introduce African languages and cultures to children. 

The platform’s toys are designed to be fun and engaging, whilst also providing valuable language learning opportunities. From plush animals that teach Swahili phrases to puzzles that teach the alphabet in Yoruba, the toys are a way for children to explore African languages and cultures in a hands-on way. 

Find out more about KARIBANI.