Culture and Governance
Music and dance plays an important role in the traditions of all Rwanda’s peoples. The Rwandan people have a variety of music and dance which range from acts that demonstrate epics commemorating excellence and bravery, humorous lyrics to hunting root.
Traditional songs are often accompanied by a solitary lulunga, a harp-like instrument with eight strings. More celebratory dances are backed by a drum orchestra, which typically comprises seven to nine members, and collectively produce a hypnotic and exciting explosion set of intertwining rhythms.
A wide range of traditional handicrafts is produced in rural Rwanda, ranging from ceramics and basketry to traditional woodcarvings and contemporary paintings. A good selection of crafted artifacts can be viewed in the main market or street stalls in Kigali, while an excellent place to peruse and purchase modern art works is the capital’s Centre for the Formation of Arts.
A distinctively Rwandan craft is the cow dung ‘paintings’ that are produced by a local co-operative in the village of Nyakarimbi near the Rusumo Falls border with Tanzania. Dominated by black, brown and white whorls and other geometric abstractions, these unique and earthy works can be bought in Kigali, but it’s worth diverting to source to see how the paintings are reflected in local house decorations.