Linguistics have studied the Abahutu mother tongue and languages of many other African people in eastern, central and southern Africa. They have discovered that these people shared with Abahutu the expression “ntu” when relating to a human being including Swahili “muTU”, Shona (muNHU”), Bemba, Nyanja,Ndebele, Zulu, Xosa, etc.

Many scientists are now studying in-depth the hypothesis that Bahutu are actually one of the greatest ethnic “Abantu” (Bantus) and that they are the major components of the Bantu people. These findings would be useful in Congo-DRC as discussed below.

Abahutu originally were part of the great empire that extended from actual south-west Uganda to Eastern DRC, to Rwanda, to Burundi and to north-western Tanzania. This empire was divided into kingdoms that were administered and led by the “umwami” (resulting in the word umwami meaning a king). In some parts of Eastern DRC the descendents of the “umwami” are still leading the Abahutu community.

The Abahutu kingdom was kind of independent. One would say in today’s language that there was federalism in the Abahutu Empire. The most close kingdoms to the Congolese abahutu organizational structure were the Hutu kingdoms in North-Rwanda (in the Bushiru, Murera, Bukamba, Buhoma, Bugoyi) and in South-West Uganda (in the Bufumbira). All these kingdoms spoke the same language. There are three hypotheses on the language that was spoken by Abahutu originally. Some schools think it is “kihutu”, others say it is “Kinyarwanda” (the actual Rwandan national language), and others stipulate that it is “kibantu”.

Linguistics agree that in the African philosophy the language is named after the kind of tribe who speaks it. Thus Kihunde is spoken by Bahunde ( in Masisi-eastern Congo-DRC), Kinande by Banande(eastern Congo-DRC), Kikuyu by Kikuyu people(Kenya), Kikongo by Bakongo (western DRC& Congo-Brazzaville & Angola), Tshiluba by Baluba (in Kassai and Katanga-DRC), kibemba by Babemba (DRC & Zambia), Kinyanja by Banyanja (Zambia), Kishona by Bashona (in Zimbabwe) , Kindebele by Bandebele(in Zimbabwe), Kizulu by BaZulu (in South-Africa), Kirega by Barega (in Eastern DRC),Kishi (Mashi) by Bashi (in Eastern DRC),etc. Based on the roots of the word Abantu discussed above, most of linguistics and scientists agree that the original language of Bahutu people is “Kihutu” (i.e. Kibantu spoken by Abahutu). Seemingly the Kihutu is the language spoken by the Bahutu people (in Eastern DRC).

Linguistics however identify numerous horizontal variations within the kihutu language. Thus depending on the region, the kihutu acquires the name of the place where it is spoken and most of the time is “renamed” after that place. Kihutu in Rusthuru is commonly known as “kinyabwisha-from the Bwisha county-Eastern DRC and Kisanza from the Busanza County/Rutshuru eastern Congo-DRC. In ancient Rwanda the kihutu was called gishiru-from bushiru-northern Rwanda, kirera from Burera-northern Rwanda, kigoyi from Bugoyi -northern Rwanda. Latter in Rwanda the kihutu was called “kinyarwanda”-from actual Rwanda, “Kirundi”-from actual Burundi. Thus Kinyarwanda and Kirundi are a mere horizontal variation of the original kihutu language. However these two languages became national languages in both Rwanda and Burundi and underwent an advanced academic transformation and enrichment compared to the kihutu spoken in Eastern DRC or South-west Uganda. It thus resulted in vertical variation in different Kihutu dialects ( horizontal variances).This sets a vertical variation between the Kirundi and Kinyarwanda on one hand and the other Bahutu languages in Eastern and south-west Uganda.The Tutsi and Twa spoke Kihutu.It seems these two ethnic groups lost their original mother tongue due to the principle of majority and integration observed in communities.

Following a couple of consortium in Congo it was discovered that other Congolese people tend to marginalize Abahutu because they feel they are not Congolese, they are called “Hutus” (identical to the Hutus of Rwanda and Burundi) and are identified as Rwandophons (people speaking kinyarwanda-a national language of another country). The fact that Kinyarwanda is the national language of Rwanda makes it difficult. Congolese feel people whose mother tongue is Kinyarwanda are merely “Rwandese” (have Rwandan citizenship). This is a wrong school of thought and the Congolese government has to work hard to educate all the Mobutu generation and the subsequent generations about the right school of thought. Kinyarwanda is just a horizontal variation of the Abantu original language that was rendered a national language in Rwanda by the Rwandan Hutu regime soon after independence of Rwanda in 1962.

In recent research scientists stipulate that it would be beneficial to the Congolese government to draw a policy to emphasize the fact that “Abahutu are Congolese not transplants-aliens, have the rights in DRC as any other citizen of DRC and speak “Kihutu”. The Kihutu should be known amongst the 332 Congolese dialects as a language spoken by Abahutu people. Thus the false umbilical cord mistakenly linking Abahutu to Rwandese would be eradicated from the minds of Congolese people taken in hostage by the Mobutu controversial rules on citizenship. Reviving the Kihutu in the Congo -DRC would justify the essence of multiple studies done by linguistics on African languages.

Reporter Correspondent

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