The debate seems endless to Rwanda and amongst society. Being one of the youngest when it comes to the publishing industry in the region, it struggles with internal consumers of published content. This has been attributed to the ancient society, where Rwandans were anciently a society known as storytellers, not writers. Most content (just like in most African societies) was always passed on to generations through story-telling, by the fire places, through music concerts and youth trainings.
In a discussion held on February 1st, at Kigali’s Impact Hub, following the screening of a documentary film on Rwanda’s Reading culture by Rodrigue Iragena, it was revealed how the issue is still in a worry state.
Cited too is the limited initiatives by Authors. A few have tried reaching out to audiences, but through social media- though it also disturbs me on how consistent this is done, and how effective it can be, considering the limited internet penetration presents alongside the cost. Introduction of Audio books and E-books related services for more outreach too is an option as suggested by Arnold Kwizera. With this School Books Distributors(SDB) is steadily stretching out a hand into this venture.
Rwandan Poet and Blogger Eric 1Key puts forth a caution and fact that Rwandans not being readers doesn’t imply that they aren’t informed about issues. Sure, it is probably true- knowledge still exists, but among a few, yet preserving it, and further passing it on is the key challenge to be addressed.
It’s indeed a collective effort- which needs to root from families to workplaces, publishers, general society and the government- with close consideration of a thought that ‘A Reader raises a Reader‘ .
But just like other policies are shortly drafted, revised, and immediately implemented, so should the ‘Reading Culture’. This is quite possible, but starts through the education system’s foundation, then it will eventually feel normal- a culture.