URwanda: The Universe

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The Universe Chandelier, lighting in the main conference room at the Kigali Convention Center

I met a young girl who asked me: ‘Ndi Umurundikazi, muzompa nationalite y’URwanda ryari?’ I’m Burundian when will you give me citizenship? I told her our ancestors have already answered that question: Igihugu cyanyu nacyo cyitwa URwanda. Both our countries are called Rwanda.

Uva mu URwanda rundi. URundi Rwanda. Uri Umunyarwandakazi rero. The ‘Ru’ in URundi or ‘BuRundi’ means URwanda. It is just one country: URwanda.

I hear people say: ‘URwanda niruto’ (Rwanda is small). This statement is self-contradictory, like saying ‘That fat person is slim’. URwanda means the expansive. Even the Capital City ‘Kigali’ means the same thing. Which is why we believe that the Rwandan Diaspora live in Rwanda too, it’s extension

The Rwandan Diaspora live in the extended Rwanda: ‘URwanda Rugari’, which I think is literarily a totology for both words mean the same thing, but philosophically correct: Hari URwanda, hakaba na URwanda Rugali’

Which is why Rwadan God dwells around the world visiting Rwandan diaspora and retire to Rwanda to sleep. Wherever they go Rwandans bring good fortune, because their God visits them every day and blesses the land in which they have settled and the people who welcomed them

As for Burundians feeling they are foreigners in Rwanda they are just Rwandans because that’s the true meaning of their country’s name. As my grand mother would say: Nta barundi, nta banyarwanda..

Many err because they do not pause to understand the meaning of words, yet in the nomenclature lie hints left by our ancestors on how we should approach things and relate to each other. Hence the advise I got from an old ‘Black Panther’ when I visited Compton in America; ‘To regain conscientiousness, you must listen to your ancestors…’

The government’s open boarder policy, our President’s decision to welcome foreigners and give them citizenship must be traced in the very name of our country: URwanda: The Universe.

As a Rwandan saying goes, ‘you cant kill a person after you’ve asked them who they are, for you’d find that they are you..’


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