Well last time i had a dm on my instagram account and a number of people who were curious to know if truly i was Rwandese.I had my profile details amaze quite a number,trust me when i tell you am Rwandese.My complexion,skin colour and height speaks out… But that is a story for another day.
Early 2014,i met this good friend whom we played doubles with and had a chance to visit Kigali for a week.This was for the finals as well as for team building and here is my story…
The changing skyline of Kigali Rwanda has experienced a sustained period of stability and a rapid economic growth in recent years.There is only one dedicated guidebook on Rwanda and it thinks the capital is so boring.”Kigali has so many tourist destinations”,it warns,you are likely to spend more days unlike you expected!!!
Most tourists to Rwanda follow this advice but i was a different one since as an African,a typical one for that matter i tend to appreciate any culture.
On our first day we visited the Akagera savannah,the Nyungue jungle and the gorilla rich volcanoes national park.But this was totally different for both of us since a majority of tourists only stopped to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center,regarded as one of the best museums in Africa.
It seems unfortunate that the citys’ main attraction should be linked to past memories.Well that particular month marked the 20th anniversary of the genocide,and over the years Rwandans have worked hard to define themselves by something other than just suffering.
This effort has brought Kigali a reputation for blandness and repression-Roads are super clean ,plastic bags banned,architecture is uniform but beneath the reserved surface i find a luminous;musical city,as optimistic and welcoming as any in Africa.
Stopping at the Ivuka arts center on my first day,i almost lean on a giant heart sewn together from scarlet condoms.The Ivuka center piece of Kigalis’ handful of galleries and workshops,and its programmes director,charles Kizito,has a pertinent warning about the town.”i’ve seen it again and again.Kigali calls people back.That is why i call it the “mysterious magnet”,he says.
Our guide,Marie dos santos,introduces us to her neighbours as we continue with our journey;milk sellers,mechanics,drapers,chapati-makers and musicians.
Explaining the history and ethnic variety of her cultural practices,and it’s sturbborn refusal to be developed as well as embraced.She makes us aware of the current trends in tailoring from senegal.
Everywhere here is safe ,infact no other capital city can be navigated so widely,at any hour,without harassment allowing Kigalis nightlife to be greedily explored .
An hour or two spent at the executive car wash,in kimihurura,confirms Masambas views on the power of music.This bar,beside a highway and hidden by a low wall,is a kind of open-air dance hall,loud and vivid divided into rickety,slipshop segments.Nyama choma-Kenyan-grilled-land turns all night on the enormous barbeque,to be washed down by primus and vin-de–bananae ,while we danced under the stars to the awesome music.It is the best club i’ve ever seen.It is also,literally a car wash….
This was a one day experience,with people of Kigali and i couldn’t wait for the night to pass for morning to awaken us to hotel des Mille colline.