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As a way of promoting the Rwandan culture abroad, the country’s diplomatic missions last week signed performance contracts (Imihigo) in which they emphasized it as a priority. It is understood that by preserving the country’s culture in countries across the world, Rwandans living in those countries are bound together and also kept closer to their motherland.

“In my public address to Rwandans here and during meetings and online, I use Kinyarwanda, so that our mother tongue is not lost especially among the youth,” said Vincent Karega, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to South Africa.

He stated that his mission always encourages Rwandans to protect their dignity and integrity, even in the foreign land.  “One of our core messages to the Diaspora is to maintain strong solidarity and mutual support in line with our culture of visiting the sick and those in difficult situations and getting together, among others,” he said.

The envoy said that such events have happened in South Africa (Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elisabeth, and Durban), Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. He said that students in the universities always participate in series of cultural events and always invite officials from the embassy to witness their ceremonies.

“At the Embassy, we train Rwandan children our cultural dance and mother tongue. We had a cultural troupe at the University of Pretoria but the key figures in the troupe completed their studies and are now backing in Rwanda, but we will engage the remaining and incoming students to take it up”.

Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said:  “We appreciate the role played by our embassies in the promotion of our culture, for instance, our embassies in Belgium and Holland have signed performance contracts of promoting our culture in terms of teaching Rwandans their mother tongue and traditional dances, among others.”

The Rwandan culture has also attracted the attention of foreigners who want to identify with it, and as a way of strengthening their involvement in the dissemination of the Rwandan culture in their respective countries of residence, Rwandans have formed various associations.

The associations enhance the image of the country through organization of conventions, cultural events, conferences and business exhibitions with the support of the diplomatic missions. “We share news from home and achievements with Rwandan communities and encourage them to attend events in Rwanda such as National Dialogue (Umushyikirano). We are planning to have a civic education (Itorero) for the youth in the forthcoming months,” Karega said.

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