The Cultural Tourism Week at Red Rocks in Musanze was a buffet of all things Rwandan-from Rwandan cultural fashion designs, traditional food and drink, poetry and spoken word performances, music and dance, basket weaving, traditional story-telling and grain milling, to mention but a few. In its 6th year running, the Cultural Tourism Week run from August 26th to September 1. It was organised by Red Rocks in partnership with the Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show, which is now in its 5th year running.
The Cultural Tourism Week run from August 26 to September 1, with the Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show falling on August 31. The activities were also peppered with discussions and reflections on conservation by various stakeholders and members of the surrounding local community.
What made the event stand out was the large number of locals from outlying villages who trooped to Red Rocks to partake of the various fun activities, while others simply came because of the prospect of making a quick buck out of souvenir sales to tourists. The women from the local crafts cooperative that operates out of Red Rocks added colour to the week-long activities, draped in colourful Kitengi fabrics and knitting away at their baskets and other tourist souvenirs.
At the Cultural Fashion Show on September 31st, local fashion designers and models showcased a variety of retro designs that date back to traditional Rwandan society; from Inyonga, Inkanda, Inshabure, and Inkindi traditional wear, among others. Through well-executed skits, the models were also able to depict the mode of clothing that was used by former Rwandan kings, royals, royal guards and their military regalia. Guests were able to get a feel of what a typical King’s palace looked like.
According to Celestin Ntawirema, the CEO of Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show, the platform seeks to identify and nurture modeling talent from different parts of the country. To this end, established fashion designers and models were used to headline the Cultural Fashion Show, while the emerging talent picked from the community learns from the seniors. The fashion show also featured many models that are outside of the conventional modeling age bracket, further adding to its uniqueness compared to previous editions.
“We are working in a countryside setting which helps us easily find a variety of traditional clothing in the area as well as other tools that were being used in the traditional era,” explained Greg Bakunzi, CEO of Red Rocks Rwanda. On September 1, a day after the Cultural Fashion Show, Bakunzi was among the 19 people honoured to name a baby gorilla at the gorilla naming ceremony, Kwita Izina, in Kinigi, Musanze. This was in recognition of his work at Red Rocks as a community focused tourism business.