Into The Roots Of Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the few African countries that have stuck to their culture. Seeing no reason to become complacent with their culture, Rwanda has maintained an explicit and traditionally refined culture that has been tidily marketed across the globe. Rwanda’s traditional cultural heritage revolved around dances, praise songs, drums, traditional crafts such as basketry, ceramics, and painting.

TRADITIONAL DANCE

Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings, and storytelling. In Rwandan Traditional Cultural Dance, Men dance and portray Courage, Strength, and Confidence while Women through Dancing so forth, love, care, nurture and their graceful feminine strength.

INTORE (Dance of Warriors)

Intore dance of warriors
Intore (Dance of Warriors)

It is performed by men wearing grass wigs, carrying spears and bells on each foot which make a rhythm in the background. The dancers move from side to side combining grace and complex choreography with a raw aggression. At certain stages the dancers stop with arms outstretched and make blood-curdling battle cries. These calls are individual to each dancer and represent warriors claiming the details of how many he had slain in the battle.

 

UMUSHAYAYO (Dance of Women)

Umushayayo-Dance-of-Women
Umushayayo (Dance of Women)

The Dance of Women is more gentle and graceful and unusual in Africa. Its strength is the Graceful movement of Rwandan women highlight kindness, goodness, purity and the radiant beauty of what many consider Africa’s most beautiful women. Women’s Dance is based upon the movement of Ankole Cattle.

IKINIMBA

Ikinimba dance is performed as part of a courtship ritual. Songs that accompany this dance are focused on advising the future bride on how to deal with her prospective in-laws. Once a woman was married, she was no longer eligible to perform in the dance.

UMUGANURA (Harvest Dance)

Umuganura-Dance-of-Harvest
Umuganura (Dance of Harvest)

The harvest festival had been part of traditional Rwandan Culture for centuries where people gathered to celebrate share the first fruits of the harvest. This was accompanied by the music, dance, telling of stories and local brew. The women dancers dressed in festive gowns to perform dances of thanksgiving and honor the Traditional Deity that had blessed them with a plentiful harvest and a time to bring and bless seeds for the new harvest to come.

 

DRUMS (Ingoma)

Ingoma-Drums
Ingoma (Drums)

Drums have immense importance and drummers usually play in groups of seven or nine. A set of drums is composed by The ishakwe ; the smallest (47 cm high) and has a high tone, the inyahura (up to 78 cm high) has a medium tone and the ensemble usually has three or four of these, the igihumurizo (85 cm high) has the deepest tone, although they have a much larger diameter than the inyahura, they usually play an invariable ostinato rhythm together with the inyahura. The ingoma is usually played by men on festive occasions or to welcome an important guest. The drummers use two wooden sticks called imirishyo

TRADITIONAL ART AND CRAFT

Rwanda’s Art and culture of making beautiful handcraft items dates way back to the early 1880’s when Rwandans distinctively used dung ‘paintings’ dominated by black, brown and white whorls and other geometric abstractions, these unique and earthy works were used in local house decorations. Weaving was passed down from mother to daughter, generation to generation, as a rite of passage marking the transition into womanhood and symbolizing a mother’s care for her children and her country.

BASKET WEAVING AND BOWLS

Agaseke (basket) is a decorating gift item that families in Rwanda give to their daughters during marriage ceremonies. A precious feminine gift has connotations of beauty and love. It takes several days for women weavers to make each basket and the process is often meticulous and requires invariable attention to detail. In Rwanda, the Agaseke basket is also used to symbolize peace and unity.

Agaseke-Weaving
Agaseke Weaving

IMIGONGO PAINTING

The art form of cow dung paintings originated back in the 18th century in the Province of Kibungo and is mostly done by women. It is an art form popular in Rwanda. The images are produced using cow dung which is put onto wooden boards in spiral and geometric designs. The dung is left to harden and is then decorated using colors made from organic material. The traditional colors are black, white, red, grey and beige-yellow but increasingly other colors are used.

Imigomgo-Painting
Imigomgo Painting

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