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Taboo topics include politics, ethnicity about Hutu and Tutsi, war and sex.National politics is rarely discussed and if it is, it’s done in hushed tones in privacy.Rwandans are often curious as to how foreigners find their country and if asked you can reply in generalities and be more specific about the positives.Religion is often one of the first topics of conversation initiated by Rwandans.
People may have opinions but are reluctant to express them because of the political implication.
This does not mean that you can not discuss people’s personal lives at all, but you must simply do so with a great deal of tact, without going into details.
At all costs avoid asking questions about ethnic origin: this is practically a taboo subject, even if every Rwandan is aware of his ethnic origin.
The acceptable distance to keep when speaking with someone obviously depends on how well you know the person with whom you are speaking.
For everyday communication, the acceptable distance would let you touch the person to whom you are speaking with your fingertips. As for eye contact, for most Rwandans looking directly in someone’s eyes is seen as impolite or brash, especially if you do it to your superior.
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Almost every contact is initiated with a handshake and holding hands is maintained through the greetings and sometimes the entire conversation.