RWANDA HAS a rich cultural history dating from the ancient times. Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence to this from hunter gathers in the late Stone Age with Iron Age settlers producing dimpled pottery and iron tools.
In the past, cultural heritage tourism industry saw its primary role as marketing ready products to travelers. But surprisingly today, when cultural heritage and historical sites management is done right, interfaced with the need for cultural emergency relief, it helps to protect our nation’s natural and cultural treasures and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.
The centrality of culture in post-genocide reconstruction of Rwanda is timely and essential for the psychological survival of humanity in emergency situations. Cultural heritage sites being a historical memory of a community, they link people to others and their environments throughout time.
The impact that historical sites has on the cultural lives of communities is one of the most important issues debated by museums and other cultural bodies globally and academics today. Cultural heritage promotion and development is leading to destinations losing their cultural identity by catering for the perceived needs of tourists.
When cultural heritage is destroyed, people suffer a fundamental loss and life becomes a little more than survival. The care of our own historical sites in Rwanda will reveal the degree of civilisation and morality rich in cultural, scientific and human values that become valuable references in helping restore a sense of normality, identity and continuity.
Besides the continued search for identity today, tourism, preservation, heritage and culture are much more likely to overlap. Cultural heritage tourism can have a tremendous economic impact on local economies with the arrival of visitors who come with new opportunities for preservation.
The best way to prevent culture from fading away is to spread it worldwide, create awareness and to pass it on to the young generations.
David Nkusi, Rwanda