Umwero [NEW]

Mugisha Kwizera, creator of the Umwero script for Bantu languages, writes:

Before inventing this alphabet I was facing some challenges or problems in writing the Kinyarwanda language.I found that the Bantu languages sound the same but are written in different ways because of the Latin alphabet we use, which is not compatible with our sound speaking at all.

After my vacation I returned at home to study at the University of Rwanda in computer science with those writing challenges I have faced before visiting Kenya and with those writing challenges I have faced in Kenya. At that time, I was starting to wish that the Bantu languages should have their writing system.

Back in 2014, the writing of Kinyarwanda had been changed and that change was a great conflict among citizens. Those changes have been corrected in 2020, but all those conflicts and changes are because of the Latinization of our language.

The reason behind all of this conflict and change is because we were taught to write Kinyarwanda by our colonizer, who came to us without knowing our language. So, I would ask you as I always was ask myself, how can someone who doesn’t know to speak your language can teach you to write your language? Impossible. That why my wish was to develop our own writing system.

From my research I have found that the Kinyarwanda language is a language spoken by all Rwandan as an easy spoken language, but I found that it is very hard to write it to all Rwandans. Many Rwandan from primary to secondary the Kinyarwanda script challenge them especially in writing Kinyarwanda ligatures (ibihekane).

The artistic principle behind each character was based on the middle joint of every glyph to connect them all. Some Umwero symbols contain a spiritual meaning and many others are just my normal imagination based on that calligraphic and artistic principle of the joint and measures.

The protection of any culture is in its language and protection of any language is in its writing. Umwero is to protect our language as well as our culture. Umwero means “harvest,” so it is a harvest for us to raise our language from vanishing to protection and also is the best step to strengthen our national identity.