Rwanda is one of the countries in Africa that show outstanding uniqueness and diversity in culture. Although the country was greatly disturbed by the genocide act of 1993, you will realize that it currently stands out as a breathtaking destination. There are many activities organized specifically to unite the people of Rwanda and ensure there is peaceful coexistence. It goes without saying that such cultural activities are not only important to Rwandese but also to those who visit.
Here is a list of 8 things you need to know about Rwanda Culture:
MUSIC AND DANCE :
In whichever activities Rwanda undertakes, for instance, storytelling, social gatherings, festivals among others, music and dance have been a culturally integral part. The music and dance are subdivided into three unique categories which include drums, the dance of heroes, and intore. While the dance of heroes is undertaken by men, intore is always performed by women.
Each of the social groups inhabiting Rwanda has varying styles of transmitting music orally. Drums as part of music and dance are highly valued and drummers are always accorded high status in the community. If you visit Rwanda, you will note that the drummers are often subdivided into groups of between 7 to 9 from where they play drums together. Music and dance are a culture that will indeed add value to your visit and stay in Rwanda.
Have you ever heard of traditional staple foods? Rwanda has a fantastic culture when it comes to traditional foods. One of such predominant foods is the cuisine which is made from staple foods obtained through subsistence agricultural activities. Some of the common staple foods you will find in Rwanda include cassava, beans, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas. You will be shocked to note that Rwandese don’t eat meat severally across the month and that most of those living nearer to lakes prefer eating fish especially tilapia.
The cuisine is often prepared by combining cassava, bananas, and sweet potatoes. You will also have a chance to enjoy a traditional dish called Ugali, prepared from corn flour. That is not to say that there are no other meals apart from the traditional cuisine. You will find in hotels international cuisines and fast foods such as French fries. Having eaten, you will grab some beer or locally brewed liquor, fruit juice, wine, or milk which is found in abundance.
ARTS AND CRAFTS :
Rwanda’s arts and crafts are worth a look. Anywhere you visit throughout the country, you are likely to see some enthralling craft and artworks. Traditionally, such arts originated as functional items but currently, some of them have evolved to serve the purpose of decoration. Particularly, the most common artworks you will see include bowls and baskets. One of the most interesting arts is the “imigogo” which is prepared by mixing cow dung with natural soil of varied colors. If you are an art lover, plan your trip and visit Rwanda.
If you think Rwanda is lagging in the area of cultural style, modeling, and fashion, you must be illusional. Amasunzu hairstyle has been in existence since the traditional times in Rwanda and is unique to the core. The style is achieved by cutting hair from the sideway of the head, and excellently braiding the top. This hairstyle is not just fashionable. Anyone who had the style was considered brave, prestigious, noble, and powerful.
Still, in the area of unique cultures, there is the Umugunda practice in Rwanda. It is such an interesting activity where Rwanda citizens from all corners come together, unite and work for the betterment of their neighborhood. It is always conducted during the last Saturdays of the month. When you visit, you will observe that most shops remain closed, busses disappear from the roads and traffic jam becomes unapproved theoretical assertion. Some of the public works people engage in during Umugunda include constructing houses for the less fortunate, planting trees, cleaning up litter, etc.,
LITERATURE AND FILM :
Written literature has not been in Rwanda for a long time. It is one of the new practices under advancement. However, if you look at the culture of traditional oral literature such as folklores and oral stories, then you should consider Rwanda as one of the best custodians. Some of the recognized forms of such traditional literature include the ibisigo, the ubucurabwenge, and the ibitekerezo which are royal poems, royal genealogies, and epic music poetry respectively. You will enjoy such literature whenever you visit Rwanda.
INTORE DANCING :
The cultural practice of intore dancing allows you to witness some of the greatest traditional music moves by the performers, often recognized as chosen ones. These performers are always given military training and taught unique jumping styles which make the intore dancing very interesting. The dressing code of the dancers is also unique. While performing, they put on grass wigs and carry clutching spears. In Rwanda, dance is a true spectacle.
SOCIAL BELIEFS AND ETIQUETTES :
Rwandese societies have not been impacted much by western culture. When you visit, you will realize that most of the people, about 70%, live in rural areas. Due to lack of exposure in the rural areas, the Rwandese remain polite and full of etiquette. The influence of the western culture that is mostly found in cities has not interfered with Rwandese living in rural areas.
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