Gasana Mutesi, CEO of Ubuntu Publishers, has been authoring and publishing children books for over six years and is motivated to create and promote reliable local stories for children. The mother of five boosted her spirit for writing for children when she was looking for stories to read for her children and didn’t find any book that encompassed the stories she used to be told by her grandmother or other people when she was young. According to her, most children wanted to be Santas or princesses because they were reading foreign books and no one wanted to be like ‘Ndabaga’ since there were no stories that talked about local heroes. She perceived that as a limitation to Rwandan children from fantasizing and thinking about their country. Reading different children books as well as living with kids made Mutesi start writing, intending to bridge the gap in children books by writing locally-set stories that Rwandan children could live and relate to. She started as an employee working with regional and international publishers, where she also got trained and accessed first hand resources as a publisher and also as an author for children books. “Developing childrens books isn’t that easy as people think because as an author, you project what the children would think beyond what you are writing. Everything you write should be tailored to their understanding and you have to find an illustrator who understands the context very well,” she said. Mutesi has worked on more than 50 children’s books and has authored more than 10, eight of which were approved by Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) to be used in schools. She believes that the Rwandan publishing industry is growing when she looks back in 2008 when she ventured into it – where many people didn’t even understand what publishing is. She said that having no book policy is a very big hindrance which affects the industry in terms of ensuring the protection of intellectual property, culture as well as its contribution to the economy of Rwanda. Moreover, she declared that the industry does not have a lot of investors because they are not willing to risk their investment if there is no book policy. “The policy should be there to guide and define the roles of writers, publishers, literary organisations and everyone who is involved in the literary industry,” she said. “However, the industry is growing because we have seen people writing their books which werent there before.” According to her, most of the parents don’t want to buy books written in Kinyarwanda for their children and yet the industry is trying to promote writing children books in Kinyarwanda, because they can easily learn other languages as well as connect to their culture and tradition. “It will be embarrassing to see Rwandan child growing up fluent in English and French but can’t speak Kinyarwanda. Heroism, patriotism and other Rwandan values are embedded in our language. Even if you translate a book into other languages, there are words you cannot change,” she said. “We still lack people who are able to write books in Kinyarwanda because they cannot access resources that can help them write it in a more beautiful and fancy way that is not boring to the readers. Those books that come in Kinyarwanda are very boring because they are written by historians.” The authors lack that art of writing, she continued, because when they were growing up, they were not reading; let’s say novels written in Kinyarwanda because they were not there. According to Gasana, solving that problem should start from children nowadays. She revealed that she has started encouraging them to write so that when they grow up, they will be able to freely write in Kinyarwanda. She is currently working on a book about parenting and other childrens books.