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People & Culture in Kigali

Rwanda is a mountainous country located on the western edge of East African Rift Valley and bordered by Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo. With its small land area, this country is one of the most densely populated in Africa.

Kigali the capital city of Rwanda, located just right in the center of the country. It is popularly known for being the cleanest city in Africa with well-maintained streets and infrastructure. The city is organized with calm and serene atmosphere surrounded by beautiful green hills. Rwanda the land of a thousand hills is a beautiful country with iconic tourist sites and some sad memorial sites created after the 1994 Genocide. Apart from that, other places are fun and lively filled with hospitable people.

People here are categorized into different tribes including Hutu, Tusti and Twa, there are also different refugee groups in neighboring countries still belonging to the Rwandan culture and still speak Kinyarwanda.

Rwandan People majorly speak Kinyarwanda alongside French, Swahili and recently introduced English as their formal language. This actually happened after joining the East African Community which majorly uses English language as an official language. Kigali City’s time zone is GMT+2 and major currency used is Rwandan Francs though US dollars are accepted in most places.

The most common means of transport is road transport commonly used through taxis and moto-taxis, other means of transport can be used like Air transport. Rwanda also has an airline called RwandaAir, it flies to almost all parts of the world including the whole of Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Initially Rwandans had meals strictly at home and only ate in public during ceremonies but this practice has soon faded as there are a number of restaurants on the streets. Rwandan food is mainly composed of beans, sweet potatoes, potatoes and bananas. Dairy products like milk and ghee are also widely consumed alongside meat.

Most people here practice farming along the gentle slopes of hills as their largest natural resource is land, they therefore carry out a lot of farming with lots of coffee, banana plantations and also keep animals especially cattle.

Traditions of the People of Rwanda.

Umuganda.

This tradition happens on every last Saturday of the month where everyone sets aside their personal activities to take part in cleaning up the country. All shops are closed, few essential cars are only seen on the road as the day is dedicated to cleaning the country and people volunteer to picking up rubbish, sweeping streets, painting old structures, tree planting and also building houses for vulnerable people.

It’s all about caring for the community. Umuganda is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome.” The tradition is not only aimed at promoting cleanliness but also unity as people come and work together for a better cause. Tourists are welcome to take part in this activity. Due to this tradition, it is of no doubt that Rwanda is the cleanest country in Africa.

Intore Dance.

This is a traditional dance performed by Intore dance troupes, it dates back to ancient days when chosen individuals were given military training and taught the technique of jumping which is a significant move in this dance. It was performed by military warriors and exclusively for the Royal Court. Live performances of this dance can be seen at cultural villages, museums and entertainment centers such as at the Gorilla Guardians Village in Musanze, National Museum of Rwanda. This dance vividly defines the Rwandan Culture.

Arts and Crafts.

Rwandan stories and history are told through art pieces such as pottery, paintings and fashion designs. Other forms of art are through weaving and basket making. Pottery is one of the oldest forms of art in Rwanda and it is witnessed through traditional techniques used by the Batwa people. Different art products are used for different purpose such as pots for cooking, baskets for storage and decorations.

Imigongo.

This is a Rwandan craft where paintings are made using cow dung. It is commonly practiced in the village of Nyakarambi near the Tanzanian border in the east. The paintings are characterized by black, brown and white whirls and geometric shapes. They form unique and beautiful craft which is sold around the country.


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