Runyankole has diverse similarities with languages spoken
among the Bantu. From as close as the neighbouring tribes,
such as Bakiga, and as far as the Zulu in southern Africa,
there are outstanding similarities in syntax and diction.
"Inkatha", which is a large Zulu based political
party, has the same meaning as Engata in Runyankole.
Just across the border into Tanzania the Bahaya people speak
what is locally called 'fluid' Runyankole.
One of the most interesting features
in similarities with other Bantu people is the way they name
their children. For example, the maverick president of Zimbabwe,
Robert Mugabe, has a very Ankolish name; a king in Runyankole
is called Omugabe.
Although there are millions of miles
geographically between Ankole and Japan and although the two
cultures have nothing substantial in common, most Japanese
names mean something in Runyankole. Take for example some
common Japanese names. Toyota in Runyankole would roughly
be Otayota which means "do not sit by the fire
side". Honda in Runyankole would not change
and when translated it means "to hit". Nagoya
in Runyankole is a word that means "to mingle millet
It's all in a name
Children are named depending on a variety of reasons. For
example, Kabateraine means "a person who unites
people". Bamwesigye refers to "a trustworthy
person". Ndimurungi means "am beautiful"
and Bwengye stands for "a smart person".
Names also tell stories.
When a family desires a girl and they get so many boys and
finally a girl arrives, Byabagye is a likely choice
for a name. It means literally "things are now okay".
Baryatangara is a
name given in hope that when one day the child grows up, they
will be a spectacle for all to see. Generally this is given
to a child when the circumstances under which they are born
Banyankole also boast some of the longest
names. Two names of a very typical Munyankole person can make
a short paragraph.