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South Africa


Rwanda Video Audio Reviews

The native language of Rwanda is Kinyarwanda (also spoken in various dialects). In addition, Kiswahili is used as a lingua franca, as is the case in many East African countries. From World War I onwards, Rwanda was under Belgian colonial rule until it became independent in 1962. Therefore, French is also widely spoken in Rwanda.

After the 1994 civil conflict, the Rwandan government adopted a policy of three official languages. Those are Kinyarwanda, French, and English. The latter was chosen in order to include the new returnees from exile, who came back to Rwanda after the genocide. Many members of the former ruling political class of Rwanda, the Tutsis, had lived in exile in Uganda for several decades and adopted the English language there. Today, English is used in Rwanda, besides French, in official and political contexts and in higher education.


Its popularity is growing and there are certain Anti-French sentiments connected to the 1994 genocide.

The variety of English spoken in Rwanda shares several features with other East African varieties of English. One of the most prominent features of Rwandan English is its smaller vowel set as compared to RP. Vowels that are different in RP may sound the same in Rwandan English, e.g. the vowels of DRESS and FACE. Furthermore, there is no “schwa”, i.e. the vowels of unstressed syllables are not reduced.

Reviews of available literature on books dealing with this English variety can be found here


Official government site of Rwanda

Jump TV (TV)

The New Times (Newspaper)

List of radio stations



© Christiane Meierkord
and individual reviewers