Though most people travelling to Rwanda have been attracted by the famous mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park located in the northern part of the country, the country offers unique and wonderful cultural tours to the world. The unique culture of Rwanda, the unity of the people exhibited twenty years after the genocide is yet another interesting thing that every traveler to Rwanda should at least witness. For those taking safaris in Rwanda, a great and memorable experience await you.
According to historical references, Rwanda is made up of three ethnic groups; the Batwa People, the Hutu People and Bahima People. Unlike other African tribes that have different languages, all these groups of people speak the same language; Kinyarwanda. History reveals that the Hutu is the largest group taking about 85% of the total population, the Tutsi 14% and the Twa are the least popular with 1% of the total population. These cultural (or sub cultural groups) lived different lifestyles; the Hutu were cultivators, the Tutsi were cattle keepers and Leaders while the Twa were hunters who had no possession of land and were forest dwellers.
Some books establish that the Hutu, Twa and Tutsi divisions were established by colonial masters! Twenty years after the genocide, the people of Rwanda are one people!
Ancient traditions of honor and hospitality run strong in the land of a thousand hills and anybody who takes the time to discover Rwandan culture for themselves will find a proud and unique people. The Rwanda people are happy to welcome visitors into their lives and introduce them to their traditions.
Music and dance play an indispensable role in everyday life here, and performances range from dashing demonstrations of bravery and prowess to humorous songs, light-hearted dances, and rural artistry with roots in traditional agriculture. Traditional songs are often accompanied by a solitary lulunga—a harp-like instrument with eight strings—while more celebratory dances are backed by a drum orchestra, which typically comprises seven to nine members who collectively produce a hypnotic and exciting explosion set of intertwining rhythms.
For the traditional dances and performances, the Intore dance troupes known was the chosen ones are the best in displaying the finest Rwanda’s dynamic traditional musical and dance styles. It was founded some centuries back and these people used to perform exclusively for the Royal Court. These were given military training and taught the technique of jumping which forms a significant part of the dance. The dancers perform while wearing grass wigs and clutching spears this dance is a true spectacle of Rwanda.
Concerning the languages spoken, Kinyarwanda a Bantu language is a unifying factor within Rwanda due to the act that it is spoken almost universally. Closely related to Kirundi that is spoken in Burundi, Mashi spoken in the South Kivu region of Congo, and Kiha (spoken in northwestern Tanzania), Kinyarwanda is a Bantu language. Less than 10 percent of Rwanda’s population also speaks French, and a small portion speaks English, primarily refugees returned from Uganda and Kenya. Kinyarwanda is the primary cultural identifier for Rwandans living outside Rwanda.
There are several cultural villages cultural village, museums, and several hotels and lodges that provide entertainment to the travelers which are in most case traditional. The Iby’ Iwacu cultural village in Musanze, and the National Museum of Rwanda have regular performances and daily dances occur at the Rwanda development board office at Kinigi in Volcanoes National Park.
The imigongo or cow dung paintings are distinctive Rwandan crafts that are produced by a local co-operative in the village of nyakarambi near the border with Tanzania. The crafts are dominated by black, brown and white whirls and other geometric shapes, these unique and earthy works can be bought in craft markets throughout the country.
Dry containers used by the traditional people to store food and medicines in their homes, these are made during the weaving of baskets which is still a traditional art in all parts of Rwanda.
The 1% of batwa in Rwanda is known for their pottery which is the oldest form of art in Rwanda and is still seen in the country. They use clay of high quality and these potteries are still used for cooking and storing liquids.
In conclusion therefore, the culture of Rwanda is so unique for every traveler to witness for him/her self. It is made of both traditional and cultural features which are all unique and some of them are not found anywhere else.