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Rwanda: The Awakened Land of a Thousand Hills, Part 2 of 2

2022-06-22
Език:English
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The history of Rwanda goes back more than 10,000 years, when the first inhabitants of the region settled there during the Neolithic period. Between the 15th and 19th centuries AD, the area became part of the Kingdom of Rwanda. In 1962, the country declared its independence.

Rwanda’s endeavor to preserve its traditions and culture can be seen in the continuation of crafts such as basket weaving, ceramics, blacksmithing, and others. The elegant Rwandan woven baskets come in different shapes, sizes, and designs, and are used as containers for a variety of purposes. At weddings or at welcoming parties, the baskets are gifted as peace pots. Rwandan baskets are typically made from local plants such as sisal, raffia, sweetgrass, banana leaves, and papaya leaves, and are dyed with natural pigments.

Another art form that only exists in Rwanda is called “imigongo,” or cow dung painting, that features strikingly bold geometric patterns, typically in red, black, and white colors. Once almost lost, this art form has made a strong comeback.

The walls on the streets of Rwanda, especially in Kigali are becoming more colorful and vibrant due to the increase in mural art; thanks to an organization called “Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga” founded in 2013 by the American creative director Judith Kaine. The name means “To Create, to See, to Learn” in Kinyarwanda, the language most spoken in Rwanda. The murals not only beautify the streets, but also promote positive messages on social issues such as education, environmental protection, and public health.

The people of Rwanda love music and dance, especially at major events such as celebrations, rituals, and ceremonies. Musical styles such as “Imbyino” is played to accompany dances, while “indirimbo” is a type of music meant just for listening. One of the most famous Rwandan musicians is Jean Paul Samputu, who has been introducing the world to the fascinating Rwandan songs and dances through his versatile talents over three decades. Mr. Samputu was awarded the 2003 Kora Award for Most Promising African Male Artist and was named a Universal Peace Federation Ambassador for Peace. Along with his musical career, Jean has been tirelessly promoting peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness, as well as helping people to heal and recover from trauma.
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