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Kinyarwanda Grammar - How to Use "Have"

Hi Kinyarwanda learners! 😊
In this lesson, we will learn how to use "have" in Kinyarwanda. Using "have" is important because it helps us to express that we possess something or to indicate an action that has already been completed in the past. It is a crucial verb which, when used correctly, helps us convey clear and precise messages. So, let's dive in!

Once you've mastered this lesson, take a look at these related pages: Plurals & Adjectives.

What is "Have" in Kinyarwanda?[edit | edit source]

In Kinyarwanda, the equivalent verb for "have" is "gira".


Kinyarwanda Pronunciation English
Ndagira amaaso meza. /ndagiraa amaaaso meza/ I have beautiful eyes. Ubundi waje kwigira inka. /ubundi waje kwigiraa inkaa/ By the way, you bought a cow. Mundagira umwanya w'ikizungerezi. /mundagiraa umwanyaa wikizungerezi/ I have an English book.

How to Use "Have" in Kinyarwanda[edit | edit source]

To use "have" in Kinyarwanda, you need to know how to conjugate the verb "gira" according to the subject pronoun. It's quite simple:

Subject pronoun Kinyarwanda Example sentence
I nda-gi-ra Ndagira inka. (I have a cow.) You (singular) wa-gi-ra Wagira agaciro. (You have value.) He/She/It ya-gi-ra Yagira ibiryo byiza. (He/She/It has good food.) We tu-gi-re Tugire ibyo duhura ibyo twandika. (We have what we need to travel and write.) You (plural) mu-gi-re Mugire amafaranga meza. (You have a lot of money.) They ba-gi-re Bagire ibintu byiza. (They have good things.)

You can also use "gira" in the past tense:

Kinyarwanda Pronunciation English
Nari ngiye kwigira ijambo rymezeko. /nari ngiya kwigiraa izambo rymezeko/ I had a great conversation. Wari wijyanye n'inkumi zawe ndabonye ko wagiriye. /wari wijyanyee ninkumee zawe ndabonye ko wagiriyee/ I saw that you had a cow. Yakwigaraga agaciro cyane. /yakwigaragaa agaciro chyanee/ I heard that he had a lot of value. Twari dufite amahirwe yacu tugire umwuka. /tuwari dufite amahirewaa yacu tugire umookaa/ We were lucky to have a car. Murawigaraga amafaranga yacye neza. /murawigaragaa amafaranga yacye neza/ We heard that you had good money. Bari bahite gusenga aribo bagire Imana. /bari bahite gusengaa aribo bagire imana/ They have been praying and have God.

You can also use "gira" in the negative form:

Kinyarwanda Pronunciation English
Si ngiye kwigira ibiryo byiza. /si ngiya kwigiraa ibiryo byiza/ I don't have good food. Ntawundi yagaragaje ko yaligiranye. /ntawundi yagaragajee ko yaligiranyee/ No one showed he/she/it had it. Ntugifite umwana urebana neza. /ntugifite umwanan urebanaa neza/ We don't have a child who sees well. Ntimura mugire ishingiro ryo kuzana buri muntu. /ntimuraa mugire ishingiro ryo kuzanaa buri muntu/ You don't have to pay for everyone's meal. Ntibagifite itishimirwe. /ntibagifite itishimirwe/ They don't have trust.

Try using "gira" in different sentences and conjugating it according to the subject pronoun. You will quickly become proficient and comfortable with using "gira". Remember to ask native speakers for feedback and help.

How to Use "Have To"[edit | edit source]

"Have to" is different from "have". "Have to" means that you are obligated to do something, or that something is necessary. In Kinyarwanda, "have to" is expressed using the verb "requirer" or a combination of "gira" + "ko".

Kinyarwanda Pronunciation English
Nkuranga kuba nza kurema amazi. /nkuranga kuba nza kuremaa amazi/ I have to fetch water. Waragiye uyoboke kuba waza imyenda. /wagariye uyobokee kuba waza imyendaa/ You've been requested to buy fruits. Yarihawijwe reqirer kuboresha. /yarihawijwe reqirer kuboresha/ He was obliged to fix. Twararenga gukora iteka ry'umugambwe. /twararengaa gukora itekaa ryumugambwe/ We are required to perform a dance. Mulijijwe gufasha kuba buri wese yishatse aka karita. /mulijijwe gufasha kuba buri wese yishatse akka karitaa/ You are requested to assist to everyone who wants to buy a card. Bananiwe gufasha kubahika amazi. /bananiwe gufashaa kubahika amazi/ They are requested to help in fetching water.

When it comes to "have to" in the past tense, you can use "requirer" or "gira ko".

Kinyarwanda Pronunciation English
Nali nkomezaga kurota. /nali nkomezagaa kurota/ I had to run. Wasomewe wewe burengakamagari didasa. /wasomewe wewe burengakamagarj didasaa/ You had to study in primary school. Yanawe nashinjwamo kugirakamaro. /yanawe nashinjwamo kugirakamaro/ He/she had to show the ID. Twabonye tubafitiyemo kandi tubazanaga. /twabonye tubafitiyemoo kandi tubazanagaa/ We saw that we had to be friendly and get along with each other. Mukomereze, mwe mufite requirer ko murebe uburyo buteye. /mukomerezee, mwe mufite requeerre ko murebe uburyo buteye/ Hold it! You guys had to see how it's done! Barahiwe bonamateka ko babeho jye na we mupfukamunwa. /barahiwaa bonamatekaa ko babeho jye na we mupfukamunwaa/ They were taken care of by the landlord to be here, and also me who drinks beer.

Practice Exercise[edit | edit source]

Now that you are familiar with using "have" and "have to" in Kinyarwanda, let's practice together!


  • Person 1: Ndagira umwuka mwiza. (/ndagiraa umookaa mweezaa/) (I have a beautiful car.)
  • Person 2: Wari ukoze ki kugira iyo mwuka? (/wari ukoze kee kugiraa iyo mwookaa?/) (What did you do to have that car?)
  • Person 1: Si ukuri, mfite agahebare kandi mfite abazigaba. (/si ukurii, mfitay agahebare kandi mfitay abazigabaa/) (It's not much, I have savings and investors.)
  • Person 2: Ah! Nagushaka. (/Ah! Nagushakaa/) (Ah! I envy you.)

Let's try another one:


  • Person 1: Ndashaka kwigira umwuka. (/ndashakaa kwigiraa umookaa/) (I want to have a car.)
  • Person 2: Mwuka we n'oheza iki? (/mooka we noheyaa kee?/) (What kind of car do you want?)
  • Person 1: Mwuka mwiza ndafite gushaka. (/mooka mweezaa ndafite gushakaa/) (I am looking for a nice car.)
  • Person 2: Oya love. Urahari sinema zuzuzanya iyo mwuka wampaye. (/Oyaa love. Urahari sinemaa zuzuzanyaa iyo mwookaa wampayee/) (Okay love. Let's go watch movies driving the car you will buy.)

Great job! Continue to practice using "have" and "have to" in different contexts and scenarios!

Don't forget to check out other Kinyarwanda native speakers for more learning opportunities, and visit the Grammar section for more lessons. Happy learning! 😊

➡ If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section below.
➡ Feel free to edit this wiki page if you think it can be improved. 😎

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