There are three words that are not pro-Vision 2020, they don’t exactly fit into the development programme of Rwanda. I will tell you why. These words are all good and translate well and even have English equivalents but the way they are used commonly, depicts an attitude that is ‘un-developmental’.
Ndaje – literally translating ‘I am coming’. English equivalent – ‘Give me a minute,’ ‘In a minute,’ ‘Right away’. The functional translation of Ndaje however is far from that, - ‘Let me begin to think about coming,’ ‘I will be with you, don’t worry, just wait’ – (no time frame).
Wihangane – literally translates – be patient. English equivalent – hold on. Functional translation – don’t rush me, can’t you be easy, relax. Uihagane can be equated to the derogatory slogan – there is no hurry in Africa!
Ntakibazo – literally – no problem. English equivalent – it is okay. Functionally however, ‘do you see a problem with that?’ ‘Don’t fuss, we will let it pass’ or ‘can’t you let that pass?’
This is how it plays out in real life.
Ndaje - you call a plumber, electrician or carpenter, you have an urgent job, but he answers, ‘Ndaje mukanya’, – he is out of town just beginning another job, you sit and wait for him to come so you can instruct him.
Ten minutes later he has not showed up, you call, ask him how far he is, ‘Nageze ekibazo ariko obu ndaje’ (I got a small problem on the way but I am now on my way). You decide maybe you should leave him instructions and leave.
Return home in the evening, work is not done, he has not arrived yet. He could very easily have told you he was occupied and made a more suitable appointment with you but he chose to say he was on his way – wasted your time, delayed your work.
You have an important appointment to keep, you are waiting for your house-help to come, time is passing by and you have to leave; you call to see how far she is, ‘Ndaje, wihangane’.
Two hours later you have missed your appointment, she comes sauntering in, no apologies, she had a small problem.
‘Well you could have called and said you would be here in two hours so I could have reworked my programme,’ I remark.
Painters in your house, after they are done, it looks like they have just began. You complain that it looks like there is only one coat of paint.
‘Ntakibazo’, he assures you, with a straight face. It’s okay to have a badly painted wall for which I am paying you to paint well.
Builder placing tiles, they are crooked, even you a layman can see them and you will be living here and seeing them every day. They have to repeat the job and lay them properly, ‘Oya, ntakibazo’!
They even have the guts to ask ‘hariho ekibazo si?’ Good grief! There is a problem and you better see it and make it good. You are going crazy but as he sees it – no problem at all!
In day to day life, these simple innocent words used as the functional translation indicates underlie an attitude of mediocrity, laziness, complacency.
They display a lack of drive and excellence which are necessary aspects for us to move on and work together to develop our country. Under a façade of politeness this attitude excuses failure to keep time, wasting time and a poor work ethic.