The Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, has called on the public to promote cultural-based handiworks to back the development of locally made products.
The minister made the call last week during the closure of a two-week camp, dubbed “Holidays in Museums,” to help teenagers learn about the Rwandan culture, its history and traditions.
The children were trained in traditional dances and songs, art and crafts, basket weaving, milk churning, Kuvugira Inka (traditional poetry in praise of a cow’s virtue), among others.
The camp that was held at the Ethnography Museum in Huye District brought together 189 children between 10 and 17 from the surrounding community.
Uwacu said it was a good time for children to acquire knowledge beyond the classroom curriculum by learning the societal living conditions based on different aspects of culture.
“This programme should not benefit only a few children. In collaboration with the ministry’s partners, we want to expand it to other parts of the country, both in museums and families, but more specifically in schools for students to acquire knowledge based on culture,” she said.
“Our ancestors had the ability to get all instruments they needed from their hands. Nowadays, the country imports more volume of goods than it exports. The county’s target to promote Made-in-Rwanda products with the establishment of cultural based industries,” Uwacu said.
She added that Rwandans had all they need in sports, entertainment and leisure that should be sustained and be promoted internationally.
The State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi who was also in attendance, insisted on the need to instill culture into children, saying that education without culture was incomplete.
“We should admit that knowledge with the absence of culture is worthless. That is why both should go hand-in-hand. We want to introduce culture into school curriculums starting next academic year” Munyakazi said.
Speaking on behalf of children who attended the camp, 9-year old Confiance Urusaro said they learnt many things.
“We learnt about the components of Rwandan culture and we all hope to use it in shaping our future,” said Urusaro.
Nelly Ndeze, a parent, hailed the programme, saying they could not get enough time to teach their children due to the limited time they spend together.
“Saying ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ without knowing the culture is a shame. No parent could resist taking his child into this programme. We are lucky that it is a free service and I have been noticing daily improvement where my child can now stand in public and talk about culture. She knows that discipline is a must everywhere she goes,” she said.
Robert Masozera, the Director General for the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda, said the programme was introduced to complement scientific knowledge students learn from schools.
He said that in collaboration with partner institutions, they want to add mother language components in courses they were providing to enable students study Kinyarwanda in depth.