Let’s take a trip down memory lane, during ancient times, when our elders used to sit around a mild fire with the moon as their source of light. They would enlighten the young generation with stories about their ancestors.
Today, families meet once a year probably for Christmas or Easter and spend time watching movies or Skyping with other family members in the Diaspora.
History portrays that Rwanda does not have a stretched account of written literature, but it was blessed with a strong oral tradition that ranged from poetry to myths. It is through this oral tradition that the country’s ethical values and history are passed on from generation to generation. It is sad that even this kind of tradition is fazing out because of the assimilation of foreign norms and beliefs.
There is need to revive social gatherings for the young generation to be culturally acquainted. I attribute the knowledge I have regarding my family linage to my late grandfather. Regardless of the fact that we were in a foreign land, he made it a point to teach us the Rwandan culture. So, what excuse do we have for not teaching the young their cultural traits even at home?
Activities such as kwivuga (which literally means talking about one’s linage and strength) or traditional stories and taboos should be revived through these social gatherings. These activities carry and portray Rwanda’s rich heritage and tradition.
It’s through social gatherings that cultural traits amongst the youth are firmly rooted. These are traditions that need to be taught to children while they are still growing up rather than later. There is nothing that doesn’t need a firm foundation, including culture.
The most memorable moments are those formed during childhood. Therefore, parents and other elders in the community need to instil cultural education in children at an early age.
Passing on our culture and its values to the next generation is the best way to encourage the next generation to value and respect it.