Rwanda has a rich culture with diverse fine crafts and strong traditions. There are good shopping opportunities to be had in local markets, craft-shops and craft co-ops, in and around Kigali in particular, but throughout the country too. Look out for Rwanda’s traditional Agaseke baskets which have become famous around the world. The Imigongo handcrafted paintings and the pottery projects.
Cultural tourism initiatives are high on the agenda and being developed throughout the country these promote community based tourism and afford you the opportunity to benefit a community of people while experiencing the culture and the country.
Some of these include tea, coffee and (beer) sorghum production visits in the local communities, fishing and boating projects, tours with traditional herbalists and visits to local villages where one can learn to cook traditional meals. There is even a reconciliation village worth visiting where one can hear the testimonies of genocide survivors and collaborators.
The Intore dance or “ballet of Rwanda” has grown in popularity and is an attraction for travelers. Splendidly adorned intore dancers, with spear in hand dance rhythmically from side to side to the sound of “Ingoma” drums, in celebration. Be sure to visit national museum in Huye to see these dancers and Africa’s greatest ethnological collection.
The 1994 Rwandan Tusti Genocide, organized unworthy leaders of that period, saw the mass murder of more than a million sons and daughters of Rwanda over the course of approximately 100 days. Today, the people of Rwanda embrace peace and reconciliation and are deeply committed to fight the ideology of genocide and all its manifestation and to eradicate ethnic, regional and any other form of division.
The memorials found through out the country and testimonies are deeply moving accounts standing in memory of the 1994 Tusti Genocide, the brutality and lost lives of friends and families.
Agaseke “the peace basket”
In the Rwanda tradition, it’s a sign of love and respect to give some one a ‘peace basket’. Peace baskets are used to store treasures like jewellery, food stuffs such as grains and cereals. Girls normally take at least six peace baskets to the husbands home when they are married filled with treasures and food stuffs.
After the genocide in Rwanda, many women who were not well educated found it difficult to find jobs and they depended largely on their husbands’ income which fueled conflicts in their homes until when women started to make peace baskets which were sold through different associations and cooperatives, this allowed them to earn a living while contributing to the welfare of their homes.
Statistics indicate that, lots of men were at peace with their wives after they realized how much they were contributing to the welfare of their homes and families.
A reconciling aspect of the baskets is that the Hutu, Tusti and Twa women sit side by side to weave these “peace baskets”.