As Rwandans are advised to speak out about historical and cultural indices of their country, Rwandan writers have decried poor support for their works.
They revealed this concern in an exhibition of Rwandan works narrating Rwandan cultures and history.
Mzee Kanyankore Claver, 78, a writer from Ngoma district told The New Times that there are general challenges facing all Rwandan writers.
“We meet financial problems; transportation means to meet clients of books or to make them known”. He disclosed
“We even meet high prices in publishing houses, a result of small storage which obliges us to publish few books.” He added
Mzee Kanyankore also criticizes the way Ministry of Education buy their products at low prices as it provides 10% per book only.
Other writers emphasize on the lack of publishing houses and poor governmental support through culture related ministries.
According to Ntawizera Christian scarcity of publishers is beyond bearing and discouraging for many writers.
“The only one house that publishes pure Kinyarwanda is Edition Bakame but its performance is so low and it sometimes publishes its own works.” he noted
“It’s a great pity that Kinyarawanda writers are not funded, a sad example is my research about Rwandan culture (UTURANGO TW’UMUCO) literary interpreted as “Cultural indices” written in 2007 which missed support until 2013 when the Ministry of Sports and Culture informed us that there are no funds for such projects.” he added
He also noted plagiarism which affects their career especially from publishing houses which sometimes may multiply and sell works without consulting writers.
Writers also address another challenge of small market as Rwandans don’t seem to have a good reading culture to sustain copy sales.
Though writers worry with poor support and other challenges, they are optimistic based after forming a new body through which mobilisation and lobbying will be channeled - Rwandan Academy of Language and Culture.
Dr. Niyomugabo Cyprien, The Executive Secretary of Rwandan Academy of Language and Culture (RALC) presents measures to address these challenges.
“We normally know their challenges; publishing houses are a great hindrance but we plan to establish a publishing house and to coordinate them with other existing publishing houses.” Dr. Niyomugabo said
“About financial problems, we are going to work together with other state organs to cultivate reading culture within Rwandans so that they can buy books. We also intend to encourage writers through competitions.” He added
RALC is a newly formed organ and working under MINISPOC that many writers accuse of disregarding their works.
Asked how sure RALC is to meet writers’ wishes, Niyomugabo confesses that they are working under MINISPOC but said that their budget will be specified to fulfill its tasks.
“We are a new institution but we are determined to work with partners and NGOs in order to meet our promises,”he added.