Rwanda | Location, History, Culture, Population, Attractions

Rwanda is an independent candid state located in the central and eastern part of Africa not many degrees south of the Equator. The country is located in the Great Lakes region with most of its topography highly raised and geography dominated with mountains on the western part and Savannah on the east.

There are also a number of Lakes found in various regions of the country as well as good temperate climate with two rainy and dry seasons annually which makes the country colder as compared to all cities close to the equator. Rwanda borders a number of countries which include Uganda (North East), Burundi (South), Democratic Republic of Congo (West) and Tanzania (South East).

Rwanda’s populace is youthful and mainly pastoral with a very high density compared to some countries in Africa. The Rwandese people originated from the same cultural and linguistic group referred to as the Banyarwanda. Although, this group was sub divided into three other groups i.e the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa people and these are pygmy and inhabit the forests.

These are descendants of the ancient inhabitants where as the Hutu and Tusti are believed to have originated from different locations. The official languages used are French and English where as the principal language used is Kinyarwanda.

Rwanda under President Paul kagame has been managed by an organized administrative chain of command since pre-colonial times with females as the majority in the National Parliament. Additionally, the economy depends typically on subsistence agriculture with tea and coffee as the main cash crops grown basically for export.

Tourism in Rwanda is the sector that has grown so fast hence being the country’s leading foreign exchange earner. Some of the tourist attractions in Rwanda include Mountain Gorillas, Music and Dance, cultural ceremonies for example the Kwita Izina ceremonies, drums, the highly choreographed intore dance, Traditional arts and crafts etc.

Rwanda Genocide-Rwanda

The genocide in Rwanda also referred to as the Tutsi genocide was a genocidal mass killing of the Tutsi people in Rwanda by people in the Hutu majority government that was under President Juvénal Habyarimana. This was sparked off after the death of president Habyarimana when the jet where he was got shot near Kigali Airport hence making the majority Hutus kill the Tutsis.

Approximately about 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were assassinated throughout the 100 day period that comprised of multitudes of Tutsis (70%) and 20% of the entire population of Rwanda from 7th April to mid-July 1994.  Approximately 2,000,000 Rwandans (Hutus) were left homeless hence became refugees in other countries after the Tutsi-backed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame who is the current president of Rwanda got back control of the country and ended the genocide.

The genocide was an arrangement made by individuals of the core political elite who took over the top levels of the National Government, the Gendarmerie, perpetrators from the ranks of the army of Rwanda, supported government militias like the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi and regular nationals.

Due to the genocide, Rwanda’s economic development was critically affected for example many infrastructures were destroyed, there was depopulation due to increased displacements of people who relocated to other countries for refuge, increased HIV infections since raping The Tutsi women was common as a weapon of war hence leaving orphaned children to take care of families since most lost their parents to the genocide.

Today, there are two public holidays for mourning the genocide in Rwanda for example the National mourning period starts on 7th April with Kwibuka, the national Commemoration and ends with the Liberation Day on 4th July.  The next week after 7th April is a formal week of mourning referred to as the Icyunamo. Due to the genocide, the International Criminal Court was founded so as to purge the existence of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide occurrences in countries.

Kigali City, Rwanda Capital City

Kigali city was founded by a German known as Dr. Richard Kandt under the German colonial rule and was made the capital city after independence in 1962. The customary city was one the seat of the mwami (Kings Yuhi V, Mutara III and Kigeli IV) in Nyanza where as the colonial seat of power was in Butare referred to as Astrida today which was originally preferred to be the capital though Kigali was chosen instead due to its centralized position. From the day it was chosen, it has rapidly developed into the main economic, cultural and political base of Rwanda.

Kigali is the leading city of Rwanda and was the arena of the Rwandan Genocide on 6th April 1994 where about a million of the Tutsi people were assassinated by the Hutu militias (Interahamwe). Today, the city has a population of over 1 million people (2012) and is located close to the geographic center of the country in the hilly areas spreading traversely over four ridges with valleys between.

It includes the main residence of the President of Rwanda, government ministries; urban centers like the city center lies on one ridge while the main government area on another. These ridges are raised at about 1,600 metres/ 5,250 ft where as the valleys are 1,300 metres/ 4,270 ft. The city was expanded in January 2006 with the urban area occupying about 70% of all public frontiers with office buildings, bigger houses at the tops and poorer people living in the valleys.

Attractions in Rwanda

The country has numerous safari attractions ranging from Volcanoes National Park in Ruhengeri which offers exciting Gorilla Trekking and Golden Monkey Tracking experiences, Nyungwe Forest National Park known for Chimpanzee tracking and bird watching as well as Akagera National Park that offers amazing Wildlife Safaris and Boat cruises along Lake Ihema.

These can be explored and experienced by all kinds of travelers all over the globe that transfer to Rwanda for exciting Holiday Adventures. Other than the National Parks, the country also has various National Museums and Genocide Memorials which can be visited by many from all over the world wishing to learn more about the tragic genocide event in which many lost friends and relatives. These include; the Kigali genocide Memorial, Nyamata Genocide Memorial, Gisozi Genocide Memorial, National Museum of Rwanda, Nyanza Royal Palace, Museum of Natural History, Rwesero Arts Museum.