At least 46 military officers from eleven regional countries at the weekend held a cultural event during which they showcased different cultural activities that are unique to their respective countries.
The officers are undergoing a senior officers’ course at Rwanda Staff Command and Staff College in Musanze.
The participants were entertained by Rwanda’s Inganzo Ngari Troupe which performed various songs and plays that portray the Rwandan culture and history.
Among the exhibitors was a Ugandan troupe that performed a royal dance that is normally preserved for the Kabaka (king), and also performed another dance known as Nankasa/Bakisimba which is the cultural dance that is popular across the Buganda Kingdom in central Uganda.
Items like food stuffs and drinks, crafts, clothing, and history among others were showcased in a colorful event and the second of its kind to be hosted at the college.
“We are here to exhibit our culture in Zambia, we are trying to show how integrated Zambia is as we also learn from other cultures,” said Lt Col. Like Like.
‘Coexistence is very important and when we are gathered here, we learn a lot from one another other, we get to know history, culture and know the similarities and differences amongst our cultures, without interacting, we can’t know anything,” he added.
Among the items exhibited were delicacies such as caterpillar and grasshoppers which Rwandans are not used to.
“The caterpillars are very delicious and rich in vitamins, they are grown during rainy season and are the most preferred in Zambia, it is not surprising if I see people eating what we don’t eat back home but it shows me the culture diversification,” noted Like.
According to Maj. Savio Sambou from Senegal Armed Forces, it is very important for Africans including people in Uniform to know the culture diversification as it helps them learn from each other and keep the African spirit alive.
“A person without culture is like a body without soul,” he said.
“This exhibition is very nice because the rational of showcasing the culture of African countries is an indication that it is high time Africans got connected. As military we are also linked to this because we need to know the cultural diversity if we are to work together to protect our continent,” Sambou added.
According to Col Justice Majyambere, the college’s Chief Instructor, the notion of traditional military training is becoming more irrelevant as the global security trends are also changing and training should encompass all aspects of threats in the wider security spectrum.
“In line with that learning and understanding of various cultures, it addresses interoperability challenges and ultimately ensures force cohesion. In the wider security context, it addresses issues of disharmony amongst our societies and subsequently promoting respect and unity,” he said.
He also said that while African leaders seek to have a united continent, it would not be possible if there is no interaction and knowledge of one another’s culture.