Sunday, 1 December 2019

Rwanda Place Names Explained

Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time I cast my net a little wider. As English place names share some links to other tongues it would be interesting to see if any of the elements contributing to our place names could be found elsewhere. Continuing an alphabetical tour of the world and a look at the largest Rwandan cities.

Kigali takes its name from two languages, where Bantu ki and Rwanda gali meaning 'broad' comes from the name of Mount Kigali which rises to 1,850 metres above sea level.

Rubavu district takes its name from a mountain, its name means 'a rib' and apparently named because the rib is an indispensable part and the mountain similarly described.

Ruhango district takes its name from uruhango or 'a herd of cows' and originally mu Ruhango 'within a herd of cows'.

Nyagatare district is thought to come from the Runyankole dialect word agarte or 'market'.

Musanze district is possibly from nimusanze or 'the land cultivates evenly' and a reference to to the flat farming land heareabouts.

Rutsiro district takes its name from the Rutsiro River, said to be named from urutsiro and a reference to the mineral deposits left by the retreating waters after flooding.

Gisagara district refers to this place as where important meetings took place.

Kicukiro district cames from icukiro, a reference to a place where cows were kept and the collection of the dung into heaps.

Ngoma district is said to refer to an area where drums were sounded to call leaders to a meeting.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.

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