By Elias Hakizimana.
Some parents from Huye District in Southern Province especially in Gishamvu, Tumba, and Rango Centres blame government’s culture activists over youth dressing that is against Rwandan culture.
They told The Inspirer that when youth say it is their rights when they try to advise a girl who dresses in mini skirt or a boy who dresses his trousers or shorts under the buttocks (pocket down).
Valentine Mukeshimana, the 43-year-old mother of five children from Gasyankindi village, Nyuma Cell, Gishamvu Sector affirms that many girls of this generation are not ashamed to dress short/mini-skirts and other clothes that are against Rwandan culture and quite shaming for those who see them passing.
She said that the government and culture activists should take the lead in giving advice to these children and young girls and boys about dressing discipline that goes with Rwandan culture as it becomes worse and unmanageable when they are over 15 years old, where many of children flee their home villages to the towns to revenge their parents’ pieces of advice and enjoy their full potential in dressing.
“One who understands the advice at early age can be easily change, when a child is 15 years old, it is not easy to correct him/her as they have a routine to say ‘I am going in town,’ and so they do”.
Eraste Murwanashyaka, 60, is a father of seven children from Gishamvu sector says that local authorities do not intervene, saying that dressing is children’s rights, and the culture of correcting a child has gone with the history.
He noted that the culture of correcting children when they commit mistakes or over any misbehavior was valid in the past, where a young girl for instance could respect her parents’ advice.
Murwanashayaka said that the young generation puts on various shameful clothes due to the development that availed many kinds of clothes, giving an example that our ancestors used to wear what they had only.
Francoise Mujawamariya, 22, is a young girl from Tumba Sector affirms that girls have weakened the culture when it comes to dressing.
“Yes, they no longer have Rwandan culture and they are not ashamed with kinds of dressing they put on nowadays. Why can’t someone say that a girl is dressing body naked when her skirt or dress is above the knees? Everyone has the right on dressing whatever he/she wants but our society and culture believe that one who is well-dressed is the one who has covered his/her body,” she said.
Dr Jacques Nzabonimpa, the head of culture in Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture (RALC) said that they are teaching Rwandan values relating to dressing in schools countrywide in order to retrieve the discipline among children who want to wear against Rwandan Culture.
“We are showing children and youth how and why people should wear; we do this through different initiatives. What we observe and want to highlight are Rwandan values in this regard,” he said.
He said that shaming dressing is not only among girls, but also boys are dressing worse and quite shaming.
He explained three reasons why people wear: “We are showing them the reasons why a person wears, why do we dress? We dress for three reasons: to protect our body, to protect our private parts, and to be well presented in public. When someone wears without taking into account all of these reasons and go in public without covering the private parts, in that case you are against the values of Rwandan culture,” Nzabonimpa said.
He also explained that wearing goes with what someone is going to do. “When someone is going to construct a house, he/she has a dressing style for that, when he/she is going for swimming, a special dressing code must be applied, while at welding activities, there is also a special dress code,” he added, urging the young generation to embark on Rwandan values such as self-respect, upholding the dignity, integrity and honesty when dressing in this development era.
“We also tell young boys to avoid pocket down style, or showing the leggings and boxer-shorts. It is ashamed to see the boy wearing the jeans that is under the buttocks near to fall down. If a young girl knows she will go on motorcycle, she must consider the dressing that covers the private parts,” Nzabonimpa warned.
Currently, Rwanda has no law on dress code but the norms and values of Rwandans states that a respectable woman or girl should wear clothes that dignify them but not exposing their inner body parts to the public.
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