Rwanda: Talking about sex on radio is no longer taboo
Rwandans, young and adult, eagerly follow radio programs that talk about sexuality, reproduction life … These long-taboo subjects in families are starting to be tackled there, to, and among other things, fight against sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancies.
In the taxi from Kigali to Muhanga, in the south of Rwanda, the music vibrates. Suddenly, the driver changes frequency and suddenly, all the passengers are silent and listen attentively to the program Imenye nawe (Know yourself) from the Salus radio of the National University of Rwanda. One treats it without detour of sexuality, the life of couple, reproduction. Auditors ask questions that are sometimes raw without any embarrassment. “I am doing this show because as a woman, I felt that talking about reproductive health was a responsibility of women rather than men,” said Emma Claudine Ntirenganya. For over than ten years, Rwanda has launched a program to combat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancies by encouraging parents to talk to their children about sexuality. TV and radio spots, publications, discussions at community events, everything is done. Radio Salus, Radio Rwanda which broadcasts a program every Saturday on the family, and some private radio stations followed. “Not only are young people in cities and countryside eager to learn,” said Radio 10 journalist “but some couples who don’t know how their reproductive systems work, want to know more. “
However, for many Rwandans speaking of sexuality in public is not good: “Is it the program that talks about the sexes, which is broadcasted this morning? How do people allow such satanic broadcasts on the air? “And why then are you following them to the end?” Quarrel two young hairdressers from Muhanga. Some adults are aware of the misdeeds of this silence usually maintained on these subjects: “My mother never spoke to me about sexuality. I asked my friends who gave me approximate information, “recalls a woman from Kigali. “At puberty, when my mother sent me to buy sanitary napkins for her at the store, she said to me ‘go buy the bread of mature persons (to mean hygienic pampers used in menstrual period) and I did not know what it was”, confides this daughter of Huye to South who, ignorant, considered her first period as a curse because of lack of information.
This lack of information has serious consequences: “The first time I slept with a boy, I was pregnant. The second time too. I didn’t find out about my sexuality well, “regrets a woman from Ruhango, in the South. The Ministry of Education has a program in elementary school, which intends to teach students how the male and female reproductive systems work. But teachers, slaves of the taboo culture, are ashamed to talk about it. In a primary school in Muhanga, teachers preferred to entrust a woman experienced in the social field to teach students about their bodies (reproductive health).
“If we don’t inform them, the world will misinform them”
“Parents need to talk to their children. When they leave them alone, they learn by imitation, “storm Komayombi Ismaël, 60 years old, author of several books on sex education. “I wrote these books and went on the radio to give my contribution to the change in society. And, curiously, it is not the only young people who are interested, but also their families. “It is time for parents to directly inform their children “because times have changed,” said a woman from Nyamagabe in the south. “If we don’t,” she said, “the world will misinform them. Gone are the days when parents told their children that babies come out through the navel, for example. “A cry of alarm heard by some young parents like her:” Me, I will give notions of sexuality to my eldest daughter as soon as ‘she’ll be at seven years old. Tomorrow, she can be raped or deceived by her comrades! And then if I do not inform her, she will misinform herself on the Internet at a young age! “Because we see children from primary school in the corners of Internet café watching photos or pornographic films, or watching them through smartphones that some have already. Journalists are therefore determined to continue their broadcasts. Emma Claudine Ntirenganya is very determined: “I want to help reduce unwanted pregnancies which are growing in the country and empower men more because they tend to attribute everything to women.” If they do so, they also ask to be approached and trained in deep about sexual and reproductive health as they face challenges due to issues asked by adolescents that they are not able to respond to adequately.
However, if we are talking about sex, other subjects such as homosexuality, gays, lesbians and transsexuals are more taboo because who dares to talk about them is considered to be supporters of Western non-governmental organizations and culture accused of popularizing so-called “inhuman” practices in Africa ”