For years, the naming culture in Rwanda has consisted of at least two names; a family name and a given name. However, you find a number of people with only one name, defying the common naming rules. Their national IDs, for example, bear a single name, and that is all! “The reason I have one name is because I was not baptised by the time I was named. So, the family gave me my dad’s name, but I am trying to add a Christian name, but it is a long process,” says Kigali resident, Rukundo. On an interesting note, some people don’t have a clue why their parents chose to give them one name. For example, Nambajimana, another Kigali resident, says he has never asked his parents why. “I never got a chance to ask them why since one of them is not around (passed on), and the other is in jail,” he says. Just like Rukundo, Nambajimana also wishes to add another name, but says he is somehow reluctant because of the long process involved. Ejide Kabagema, a Language Structure and Lexicology Research Specialist at the Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy, says that in ancient Rwanda, many people were always given one name before religious naming came in. He therefore suggests that the people who have one name today might be getting this from Rwanda’s past. “In the past (before 1950), in Rwanda everyone had a specific name that would distinguish them from others. There used to be no family names then. Some people that did not come from the same family would at times have the same name, however, they would be distinguished from each other by mentioning their fathers’ name, saying ‘the son of so and so.’ For example, Nyamuhenda of Kajeje or Ruvuzacyuma of Semuzigura,” he explains. Kabagema adds that the tradition of giving two names in Rwanda is not a very old one and it mainly came with religion. Information from the National Identification Agency (NIDA) shows that the process of correcting a national ID requires a person to present materials including a copy of a passport or any document from the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration issued in Rwanda prior to the 2007 registration. A person seeking to change their name may have to wait for a relatively long period of time before getting it done. After this, people—especially those that have reached higher levels of education—will unquestionably find it necessary to undertake a process of changing the names on their academic documents as well.