Let’s work together to develop a reading culture in Rwanda

The New Times yesterday officially launched a sister newspaper, Izuba Rirashe, that has been on the streets for about four months now, and is being published in Kinyarwanda. There were many reasons why The New Times would wish to start another newspaper. But one of the over-riding ones was the great need to disseminate information to a wider public than was not being catered for by the English daily.

The New Times yesterday officially launched a sister newspaper, Izuba Rirashe, that has been on the streets for about four months now, and is being published in Kinyarwanda. There were many reasons why The New Times would wish to start another newspaper. But one of the over-riding ones was the great need to disseminate information to a wider public than was not being catered for by the English daily.

The proportion of English language speakers to Kinyarwanda speakers cannot even be compared – very disproportionate. Thus the need to have many more people sharing the knowledge and all that they were missing out due being locked out because of language barriers.

But there is another important aspect to newspapering that we need to examine carefully, and that is the reading culture of a people. Most Rwandans listen to radio more than they read papers. Know therefore than reading is more pro-active and engaging than passive listening, and develops the mind much more than does the latter.

We shall not examine the cost of newspapers in detail, but at Frw100, Izuba Rirashe is priced to be very friendly to the rural resident’s pocket, thus it is to be assumed that every Rwandan would be interested in getting a copy for themselves. But this not always the case, and the blame is put squarely on the lack of a reading culture amongst the citizens.

And this is where we would like to draft every one, leaders and parents all, to start actively promoting reading in the country; not just of newspapers, but every readable material that is within reach, because therein lies everyone’s redemption. Knowledge is not only cultivated by going to formal school but through reading and garnering information from wherever it can be got. Even entertainment – a James Bond novel is ultimately more entertaining – and educational – than a James Bond movie.

The public is urged to buy and read Izuba Rirashe not only because it is entertaining, but because it is informative. It is the mandate of the paper’s management to provide both fresh news and very informative features to be worthwhile to the reader. As said before, at Frw100 it can hardly be the over-riding objective of management to make money from the venture. It is first and foremost the need to provide Rwandans information that will help them progress in all spheres of life.

Knowledge is power. Therefore, read.

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