The Rwandan community in Ghana on Saturday, August 29, celebrated Umuganura for the first time since the traditional festival that had great significance in building the country’s strong and unified pre-colonial society was revived in 2011.
In observance of Covid-19 health guidelines, representatives of the community and the Rwandan High Commission gathered at the Official Residence in Accra for a panel discussion on Umuganura.
They later shared a meal and exchanged ideas on how to do more despite the restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic
The panel discussion, which included Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Ghana, the leadership of the community and two youth representatives were virtually broadcast.
Dr. Aisa Kacyira reminded community members of the relevance of Umuganura.
“It was through inclusive and consultative introspection to find the power to rise from near-total destruction after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi that Umuganura and other invaluable cultural practices such as Gacaca, ubudehe, umuganda etc. were revived and have been nurtured into systems under the insightful and purposeful leadership of our President H. E Paul Kagame”
During Umuganura, we celebrate our culture of excellence, sharing best practices, setting clear goals ahead through ‘Imihigo performance contracts’ and forging partnerships. In addition to all this, Umuganura is an opportunity to reflect on and give value to our cultural heritage and continue to rebuild ourselves in unity and self-sufficiency,” she added.
Dr. Aisa Kacyira also highlighted that while traditionally Umuganura was about celebrating gains in agriculture and animal husbandry in addition to art and immersing into Rwanda’s rich culture, today it provides a platform to celebrate gains in a wide array of sectors from education and knowledge, tourism, business and industry, infrastructure development, agribusiness, good governance and many others.
Over 60 per cent of the Rwandan community in Ghana are students.
The High Commissioner called on community members to consolidate the gains the country has made and to continue to raise the image and branding of Rwanda, mobilize Ghanaians to invest in Rwanda as well as take advantage of the ease of travel that comes with RwandAir’s regular flights to Accra and the launching of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) expected to become operational on January 1.
The chairperson of the Rwandan community in Ghana François Xavier Bikorimana highlighted that moments such as celebrating Umuganura are key to strengthening the Diaspora’s connection to Rwanda and the leadership.
“Today we are grateful that our leaders saw it necessary to give us a High Commission. Hardly a year since it opened, our community has become stronger and more united compared to when there was no strong presence of Rwanda in Ghana. We are optimistic more is going to be achieved.”
On their part, the representatives of Rwandan youth in Ghana who joined the panel discussion Farha Gafaranga and Gilbert Nteziyaremye appreciated the Rwandan leadership with special tribute to H. E President Paul Kagame, and the community for having chosen to reflect and draw wisdom from Rwanda’s history and culture, emphasizing that it has given them a great foundation and legacy from which to build.
Farha remarked about Rwanda’s focus on attaining self-sufficiency and how it has become an “inspiration at a personal and professional level”.
Nteziyaremye also highlighted that while youth today are often pulled to focus on seeing opportunity beyond home and out of Africa, these reflective engagements continue to be very educative and clearly show the great “potential there is to us at home and on the continent” calling on fellow youth to take advantage of the opportunities and play their role effectively.
Due to Covid-19 however, the event was attended by just over 100 Rwandans living in Ghana. It was nonetheless a joyful one.