Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Having mentioned story books in Kinyarwanda yesterday, I should say that the reason I got so excited was because one of the books was about Maguru.

About six or seven years ago, when I first came to Rwanda, I got to know a reggae band called The Holy Jah Doves. They were kind of iconic for a while, before they all got married and the group disbanded. 

Their greatest hit was a song called Maguru, which told the folk tale of Long-legs, a warrior, as he battled a strange shape-shifting demon called Insibika. You can find the Kinyarwanda/English translation of the lyrics online.

Now I know that there are a whole collection of Maguru tales.

Through the small organisation I'm setting up, called Nushu, I would dearly love to document and make publicly available some of the oral stories of Rwanda before they start to disappear.

One thing that I love most about the story in the song is that, at the end, they repeat the line:

Sinjye wahera hahera Maguru n’insibika 
It was not me who ended this story, it was Maguru and Insibika

Stories are saved for the nighttime, and told around the fire, as it is unlucky to tell them in the day. At the end of a story, you always need to make clear that it is the characters who are in the story, not the storyteller, otherwise you might get trapped within the tale forever.

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