The land of a thousand hills has a booming culture evidenced in the wide range of fine crafts and strong traditions among the locals. These include; a variety of arts and crafts, music and dance, memorial centers, dressing code, religion among others that you need to see for yourself. Sought after crafts include pottery, basketry, painting, jewelry, wood carving and metalwork including local shields, spears and many other new innovations by the locals. Memorial sites and Museums have played a very big role in preserving the cultural history of Rwanda. The history for example about the Rwanda genocide is best preserved in these. These have helped in offering both national and international tourists a well elaborated cultural history.
Languages spoken in Rwanda.
Three languages are spoken in this country. These are; French, Kinyarwanda and English. Kinyarwanda is a language well known and spoken by all the nationals, French is the official and the recognized national language.
The Rwanda genocide memorial centre
This center in Kigali commemorates the Rwanda genocide and explores other genocides around the world. The genocide memorial is a place for everyone to reflect on the past and the future. This tragic genocide is one of the most known events in the history of Rwanda. It took place for 100 days starting in April 6th, 1994.
Ten years after the genocide, the memorial opened and that was in April 2004. It is managed by a UK based ``Aegis Trust’’ which created the concept for the memorial and now manages. This was in an effort to prevent genocides around the globe. No fee is charged to the entrance but tourists / visitors are advised to support the project with any amount while in the centre. The centre is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and a useful audio guide is available for 9000RWF and a tour takes about one hour.
Dressing in Rwanda
Traditional attire today is put on during special events like formal occasions, celebrations and weddings.
Rwanda's traditional dress for women is called Mushanana. It is made out of a long skirt that touches the feet, and a tank top draped on one shoulder. The traditional dress for men includes a Western-style dress shirt tucked into a wrapped floor-length skirt. A beaded necklace is worn with this outfit.
Music in Rwanda.
In Rwanda, the music largely consists of African folk music sung by its people. Almost every song sung by the locals carry messages about the tragic genocide that once hit their nation and the Amahoro (Peace) presently prevailing in their country. These folk songs are sung with the aid of the local instruments such as xylophones, guitars, traditional drums among others.
Dishes in Rwanda
Having fertile soils, the rate of food production in Rwanda is high and the country has a diversity of basic foods consumed. Ugali (or bugali) is a paste made from maize and water, to form a porridge-like consistency that is eaten throughout East Africa. Isombe is made from mashed cassava leaves and served with dried fish. Matoke is a dish made from baked or steamed plantains. Ibihaza is made from pumpkins cut into pieces, mixed with beans and boiled without peeling them. Ground nuts paste Ikinyiga, and Millet flour paste umustima w’uburo both of these pastes are made from boiling water and flour, mixed to a porridge like consistency.
In the restaurants in the capital city of Kigali, locals and expatriates eat a variety of international cuisine, including Indian, Chinese, Italian, and African. In other cities and towns, the cuisine is simpler, often consisting of chicken, fish, goat or steak served with rice or French fries.
In rural areas, urwagwa is the common beer made from the fermented juice of bananas that has been mixed with roasted sorghum flour.
Milk is a common drink among Tutsi group. This may be because they are more of cattle keepers and their cattle keeping is historical. Other popular drinks in Rwanda include fruit juice, wine and beer. Commercial beers drunk in Rwanda include Primus, Mützig and Amstel. Beers feature in traditional rituals and ceremonies and are generally consumed only by men. Ikigage is an alcoholic beverage made from dry sorghum that is thought to have medicinal powers. Ubuki is made from fermented honey and has an alcohol content of about 12 per cent. This combination of exotic and indeginous beverages make Rwanda a precious place to go to atleast once in life time.