Facts File

10 Funny Facts About Rwanda You’ll Love See

Facts about Rwanda
Photograph of King's palace in Nyanza, Rwanda

Rwanda is a landlocked country in east Africa. The country has a green, mountainous landscape which earned it the appellation, “land of a thousand Hills.” Kigali is the capital, and the country is bordered by Congo and Uganda. Here are ten other funny facts about Rwanda that you would love to know.

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Population: 11.78 million (2013)

Capital: Kigali

CurrencyRwandan franc

President: Paul Kagame

Prime Minister: Anastase Murekezi

Continent: Africa

Government: Unitary semi-presidential republic

Official LanguagesKinyarwanda, English, French

Funny Facts About Rwanda

1. THE GREETING RITUAL

When greeting in Rwanda, handshakes are appropriate in almost all situations.  The Rwandan handshake is often energetic and most times last through the process of greeting. In fact, in certain situations where a conversation takes place right after the greeting, the handshakes last through the entire conversation.

2. THE POLITE UNTRUTH

Rwandans try their best to avoid hurting others. In fact, in certain cases, Rwandans would rather not tell the truth if telling it is likely to hurt the person with whom they are speaking.  Even though this might appear to others as lying, to Rwandans, it is being sensitive to the feelings of others.

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3. INDIRECT EYE-CONTACT

Generally, people prefer the indirect eye contact. This does not mean they cannot look at somebody directly. But what they avoid is direct and continuous eye contact during the entire conversation.  They see it as unnecessary.  So they’d rather glance at the general area of your face now and then, but would not hold your gaze.

4.  A MARK OF RESPECT

The Rwandan society can be called somewhat hierarchical.  So, avoiding direct eye contact is also a mark of respect.  This is especially so in the case of women and children.  This group of Rwandans would often bow their heads and look down or away when conversing with men or with elders.

5. POINTING MEANT FOR DOGS

Pointing at people in the Rwandan social norm is viewed as odd.  It is rude. This goes for almost all east African countries. Pointing is reserved for dogs.  And pointing at persons therefore is calling such persons pointed as dogs.  Instead of pointing, the whole hand/arm is used.

6. DRESS NOT TO WEAR

In Rwanda, the way you dress either gives you the respect of an adult or that of a kid. For example, there are dresses adults must wear.  Shorts are part of such dresses. In Rwanda, only school boys wear shorts.  Any older persons who wear shorts are telling the public that he is no more sensible than school kids.

7. WHEN NOT TO SNAP

Photo taking is not prohibited in Rwanda. In fact, it is allowed in Rwanda.  But the practice is not without restrictions.  Oh yes, there are restrictions. For instance, it is illegal and highly prohibited to photograph government buildings.  Doing it could lead to serious consequences.

8. RELAXED LAWS

The Rwandan drinking age is 18.  But this is hardly enforced.  Pubs, drinking joints, and bartenders are known to serve booze to people who are younger than 18.  In the same vein, the legal smoking age is also 18.  But this too is hardly enforced.

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9. UNVOICED DISBELIEF

In Rwanda, you could express a number of things without actually voicing them. For example, when you are talking to a Rwandan, he/she might toss his/her head to the side, uttering “eh”.  What he/she is telling you is that what you are saying is incredulous, unbelievable.

10. FUNNY FOOD TABOOS

Many people are superstitious too. One of such superstition is in the area of what happens when you eat a certain part of fish.  Another has to do with eating green bananas. Rwandans believe that when you eat fish brains, the devil will come and visit you in the night.  They also believe that if you eat green bananas, it could cause your bottoms to grow fat.

 

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