In an endeavor to promote a robust sense of cultural and national pride, the Minister of State in Charge of East African Community at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET), Prof Manasseh Nshuti, initiated a dialogue with 135 young Rwandans from the diaspora. These youths come from countries such as Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. The discussion was on topics such as heritage, language, and patriotism.
During the session held on July 25 at MINAFFET, Nshuti emphasised the importance of understanding one’s heritage as the foundation for building a strong national identity.
“Our heritage should serve as a guiding light, steering us towards progress while upholding the principles that define us as Rwandans. Culture stands as a pillar that helps you not to lose your identity.
“You should be proud of your culture and heritage, as it forms an essential part of your identity and shapes your values and beliefs. There is no culture better than one’s own,” he added.
In a transformative programme, youths will be at Green Hills Academy for a four-day camping, where they will get to learn more about their heritage and the history of their motherland.
Additionally, they will get to know more about the Kinyarwanda language, and traditional dances and pay special visits to historical sites like the Campaign against Genocide Museum and National Museum of Rwanda in Huye to foster a deeper sense of patriotism and civic responsibility.
Carlene Keza Sugira Ruboneka, from the UK, believes that it will help her delve deeper into her own heritage and establish a stronger connection with her family’s roots.
“This is my second time in Rwanda. I am hoping to learn more about my background as most of us were not born in the country, learning collectively will foster our sense of unity.”
Dylan Gaparay Ntabana, 18, echoed similar sentiments, “The opportunity will allow us to gain more information about our country. Through exploration, it will strengthen our identity and forge a stronger bond with families, friends, and shared understanding,” he said.
Many Rwandans living abroad have not allowed their heritage to fade away; instead, they continue to teach values such as unity, respect, and resilience in order to cultivate a strong sense of identity and pride in being Rwandan.
Chantal Muteteri, one of the parents from Belgium, said they introduced ‘Itetero School’, a unique educational initiative aimed at teaching young Rwandans born abroad about their cultural heritage, traditions, and history.
“The school’s primary focus is to preserve and promote Rwandan identity by imparting essential aspects of the nation’s rich culture and history. The programme encompasses Kinyarwanda language, traditional dances, core values, and patriotism,” explained Muteteri.
“However, we have inadequate resources like books, instructional materials, and experienced trainers which pose a challenge to effectively impart enough cultural knowledge to these young kids.”
Muteteri further recommended parents living abroad actively pass down important aspects of their cultural identity, as it influences their character and decision-making as they grow into adulthood.