Since early childhood, we have been educated and shaped by our families and also by our society. As we grow up and gradually leave the family environment, we find ourselves confronted by people who have also grown up with other values, other world views or different cultures. This situation can sometimes be a source of conflict, but above all, it allows us to understand our differences and to build ourselves through symbiosis or differentiation with others.
Indeed when I left Burkina Faso for Rwanda, I met many people, but I understood that Rwandans and Burkinabes are both different in some ways. Today I am going to tell you about what I have seen, heard and observed in Rwanda and which seems similar to Burkina Faso. When I say in the title that “What if Burkina Faso and Rwanda had the same cultural ancestors” I want you to understand that I have found in the Rwandan culture things that are beautiful and good in the Burkinabé culture.
The first similarity is the greeting. In Burkina Faso, when you meet a person for the first time you hold out your right hand, look at them straight in the eye and shake hands tightly to strengthen the bonds of encounter. This is also the case in Rwanda. There is also what is called a hug. Indeed the hug is done when you meet a person for a long time or when you had lasted see a person. It is a way to express your love and the joy of seeing that person again.
The second similarity is respect for elders. Indeed it is frowned upon when you call a person by their first name. When a person is older than you are, you call him or her Mr. or Mrs., and if that person is practically old, you call him or her Mum or Dad. In both countries, it is frowned upon to call an older person by their name.
The third point is hospitality. It should be remembered that Burkinabe and Rwandans are very hospitable. When a Burkinabe meets a person, he does not hesitate to invite him at home to strengthen the bonds of friendship and to know each other better. This is the case in Rwanda. Rwandans are open with you when they see that you are a person of good morality.
There is so much similarity in the Burkinabe and Rwandan culture that I often wonder if it wasn’t just one country before.
Author: Joseph Leonel Sandwidi