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Mother tongue is what makes us Rwandan-Minister Kabarebe

In a speech commemorating International Mother Language Day, Rwandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Charge of Regional Cooperation, Gen (Rtd) James Kabarebe, highlighted the critical role of Kinyarwanda, the nation’s mother tongue, in preserving culture and national identity.

Gen(Rtd) Kabarebe emphasized that Kinyarwanda is more than just a language; it embodies Rwandan values and traditions. He stressed the importance of protecting and promoting the language, particularly among Rwandan youth.

Forgetting one’s mother tongue and culture diminishes one’s citizenship,” Kabarebe said, urging Rwandans to prioritize their heritage language.

He acknowledged the value of learning additional languages but emphasized that it shouldn’t come at the expense of neglecting Kinyarwanda.

While International Mother Language Day is officially recognized on February 21st globally, Rwanda has opted to extend its celebrations until March 13th, focused on the theme “Tumenye Ikinyarwanda ururimi rwacu ruduhuza” (Let’s Know Kinyarwanda, Our Language that Connects Us).

Kabarebe commended initiatives like the “Umuco” school in Belgium, which plays a vital role in connecting Rwandan communities abroad and fostering cultural preservation.

Kabarebe concluded his speech by inviting foreign citizens to visit Rwanda and experience its rich culture firsthand. He also expressed appreciation for the efforts of Rwandan communities abroad, like Umuco, in keeping Rwandan culture alive for future generations.

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