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Is Reading culture in Rwanda really crippled?

It is often said there is no reading culture in Rwanda, but there are divergent views on what is behind the perceived poor reading habits, or if the culture exists in the country at all, no research, books has been done on the subject that sometimes attracts book worming spirit.

Julienne Bamurangye, Secretary of Libraries in Rwanda, says, without a writer there is no reader. Therefore, the fact that there is no reading culture in Rwanda is just an assumption. The only problem lies on the authorship and publishing houses. She says.

She says schools need to start organizing writing competition for students for them to be inspired reading and writing.

She adds opening libraries is one of the initiatives to inspire young writers by inculcating creativity among the youth.

“This library is built in the middle of the schools therefore will act as the center for the scholastic materials like books, printings for the students around Musanze,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Boniface Onyango, Principal, Riviera High School, says, African communications lies in the oral traditions therefore rarely books are an African thing.

He says Africa is rich on orals, epic histories, proverbs, folktales, and songs. Nevertheless, that it’s also important to turn to books as modernity is concerned.

“For Rwanda’s context reading culture is growing only that it has to take time since it is switching from French to English,” he adds.

Marie Claire Uwamariya, Vice Mayor, In Charge of social affair, Musanze District, says, the writers should embark on the traditional values so that children could understand the folks including their mother language, therefore, advised that local writers should write in local language mainly in Kinyarwanda

“With the basics that some stories have to tell the messages of humanity, discipline and respect to the older people especially as one writes to children’s books. Then the people will be inspired reading their history,” she adds.

He says a child’s foundation is built while young.

“it’s therefore, simple for students to remember the knowledge shared in the book than when he or she is older only that there are writers. Our traditions are full of the unwritten oral stories that need to be transferred to young generation who do not meet a chance to access the orals,” she adds.

“I grew up with no library in the neighborhood Musanze there was no anything like Library. It’s practically a new thing here. Yet we have decided to do so to make sure that reading culture in Rwanda is booming right away from the countryside. The reading culture is promising and in the generation of 20-30 years these students will be able to exploit their writing skills because of the fact that materials will be available.

She says the library has mainly children section picture story books- many in Kinyarwanda-few books in French and others in English.

Eric Nsabimana, Deputy CEO, Bakame Edition, The Children’s Publishing house in Rwanda, for him every person who have reached far was because of the reading.

“Personally without reading I couldn’t have been able to be who Iam today. The meaning of the library itself has a meaning for the children as regards to their memories,” he adds.

“In the modern times parents are always busy doing something else. Therefore, books would make the students concentrate on the books,” he adds.

However, says, despite the growing trends publishing houses are still few hence the book business in Rwanda is ‘crippled and incompetent’.

The Express News

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