Rwandan minister calls for increased use of local dialect Kinyarwanda

LOCAL IS BETTER: Rwanda's Minister of Sports and Culture Juliene Uwacu is advoting for increased use of Kinyarwanda, the local language by leaders addressing Rwandans.

LOCAL IS BETTER: Rwanda’s Minister of Sports and Culture Julienne Uwacu is advoting for increased use of Kinyarwanda, the local language by leaders addressing Rwandans.

The Rwandan minister of sports and culture Minister Julienne Uwacu has cautioned leaders over the mixing of the local Kinyarwanda language with foreign languages while addressing citizens during community and public gathering.

Minister Uwacu said that the mixture of languages impedes communication with the citizens and distancing from use of the country’s local language can hinder development and cultural aspects of a country.

“Leaders have to use a language that residents understand. It is not comprehensible when a leader cannot communicate in a local language and expect the citizens to put in action the message communicated” Uwacu said.

The minister made the remarks while presiding over the ceremony to mark International Mother Language Day, which aims at promoting the preservation and protection of indigenous languages around the world.

Uwacu also lashed at the media and artists for not educating the community in and on Kinyarwanda, the local language understood by majority of Rwandans, despite the fact that Rwanda uses three official languages; English, Kinyarwanda and French.

With Rwanda entering the East African Community (EAC), and subsequently joining the Commonwealth, English has taken over the former colonial language- French and snippets of the latter can be seen once in a while as many Rwandans (both leaders and citizens) struggle to adapt to the use of English.

Though Kinyarwanda is an indigenous language shared by all Rwandans, the language has been fully emphasized at the education level and public speeches, and this has resulted into mixing of languages as a new mode of civilization.

Minister Uwacu however says that usage of the local dialect should be given emphasis as a path to development of the country based on the cultural aspects- especially language.

Some experts advocate for effective use of all three official languages in Rwanda in an effort not to lose the essence of any.

“Language policymakers in this country need to look into this matter seriously and come up with strategies and policies that can help to enforce effective learning of Kinyarwanda, English language and French” says Paul Swaga, a teacher.