This is what Minister Louise Mushikiwabo tweeted in Kinyarwanda. The derogatory, very racist tweet was aimed at whites and other non-whites who have been critical of the regime she works for as Foreign Minister, led by dictator Paul Kagame.
I am sick and tired of utuzungu said Mushikiwabo. In Kinyarwanda, Umuzungu means a white person. When you replace the first 3 letters “umu” by “utu”, then the word becomes pejorative. It is a common way of formulating an insult in Kinyarwanda. In this case it means that those whites are subhumans, small (insignificant) and beneath her. Rwandans do this a lot. They call people they don’t like subhumans. Before the genocide, Tutsis were called cockroaches and subhumans. It is sad that Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister used the same language, same rhetoric as genocidaires. Of all people, Minister Mushikiwabo should know how labeling other races subhumans simply because they shed some light on your government’s human rights abuses is wrong. Instead of refuting those accusatory reports by facts, she resulted to attacks and insults. She chose Kinyarwanda hoping they will never know maybe!
Here is more Kinyarwanda lesson. Abagabo means men. If you want to insult a bunch of men, you can call them utugabo. It is a disrespectful way of saying that they are a bunch of useless nobodies. In Rwandan culture, there is no grave insult than this, especially when this insult is uttered by a woman. Rwanda is still a society where a woman is supposed be genteel and to have ladylike behavior all the time especially the bourgeoisie and higher ups.
The kind of language Minister Mushikiwabo used, normally is for street walkers and thugs. It is the equivalent of ghetto or hood talk in the US. This is why the tweet was scandalous. Many Rwandans were flabbergasted even shocked by that bad language coming from someone in charge of diplomacy and foreign relations, the government spokeswoman. A woman who uses that kind of language in Rwanda is called “inshinzi” (Huchi mama, vulgar with no self worth) and it is normally not proper for a high ranking official to use that kind of language!
Minister Mushikiwabo accused those whites she qualified of subhumans of writing “amateshwa” about Rwanda. Here she was referring to recent reports condemning human rights abuses by the government of dictator Paul Kagame. In Kinyarwanda amateshwa means rubbish, nonsense, words coming out of a mouth of someone who is stupid, dumb, non important, demented, someone so irrelevant that you have no time for whatever they are saying.
Finally, Mushikiwabo asked “utuzungu”, those insignificant white subhumans who put them in charge of Africa? They need to butt out of african affairs she said!