The cohabitation of three official languages in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Kinyarwanda, English and French

  • Jacques Lwaboshi Kayigema
  • Davie E Mutasa


In post-genocide Rwanda the rapid rise of English has resulted in a cohabitation of three official languages, thus making the sociolinguistic composition of Rwanda more complex and sociolinguistically enriching. One sociolinguistic result observed in this coexistence of languages is the influx of English and French loanwords in the Kinyarwanda language. Notably, English has risen sharply over the last two decades because of the intent of the Rwandan government to find ways of communicating with the external world in a more powerful language than the previously predominant French. This article therefore aims to highlight factors that led to the spread of English in Rwanda and the contact phenomenon and its ramification that involve English, Kinyarwanda and French.

South African Journal of African Languages 2014, 34(2): 235–245

Author Biographies

Jacques Lwaboshi Kayigema
Adventist University of Central Africa, BP 1995 Kigali, Rwanda
Davie E Mutasa
Department of African Languages, University of South Africa, PO Box 392, UNISA 0003, Pretoria, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117