EDITORIAL: Kinyarwanda needs urgent rescue

During the recent Cabinet reshuffle, the Ministry of Youth and that of Sports and Culture were reorganised. Youth and Culture were put under one roof while Sports became a stand-alone ministry.

One can read an interesting trend in the changes; there is an urgent need to uphold our culture which undeniably is under siege from many quarters. The most dangerous threats come from Information Technology and globalization and the youth are the premiere target.

So, to put the youth and culture in one docket is the logical thing to do but the new ministry should brace itself for mindset change challenges. They are many, but the issue of language is most under threat.

One only needs to revisit the widespread parental opposition to a recent ministerial directive that the medium of education in the first three years of primary school should be in Kinyarwanda.

Experts have come to the conclusion that children in that age bracket learn and understand easier when they learn in their native tongue. But some parents are having none of that; they have this elitist concept that if their children study in Kinyarwanda will pull them down the social ladder.

The only consolation is that the Dotcom generation has embraced the Rwandan culture with pride; the dance, the dress, the arts. In fact, when the former Ministry of Sports and Culture went on a country head-hunting tour to recruit for the National Ballet, Urukerereza they were spoilt for choice.

But as far as the language is concerned, there is reason to fear; not only is it corrupted by foreign influences, but its first line of defence, the media, are not doing much to help; they are the worst abusers of the language.