Forty-eight senior military officers from 10 African countries who are currently attending Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Command and Staff College in Musanze District last week showcased cultures of their respective countries.
The cultural gala took place at the college headquarters with the aim of making students fully conversant with the importance of culture in strategic studies by understanding the relationship between national traditions, cultures and values with security.
Food, drinks, social habits, art, dances and different dressing styles were among the cultural aspects showcased by the officers.
One of the scenes which caught the attention of many participants was the traditional dressing style of Lozie people of Western Province of Zambia where one of the male officers from the country was seen in a skirt normally worn by women.
Officials tour the stand of Zambia Army. / Regis Umurengezi
Most of the officers said the cultural festival was important as they shared experience and cultures with their course mates from different countries stressing that different cultural awareness will help them effectively assume future responsibilities.
“Security threats cannot be tackled by a single state in isolation, most of the current threats demand joint efforts whether through regional, continental or international collaborations,” said Lt Col Annebaut Ufiteyezu from RDF.
He added: “It is against this background that in all multidimensional environment where our respective countries’ armed forces are operating respect of culture diversity is a critical factor in enhancing inter-operability and success.”
One of the displays exhibited at RDF stands during the cultural day at RDF Command and Staff College in Musanze District. / Regis Umurengezi
Maj. John Mbale, from Zambia, echoed Ufiteyezu’s sentiments saying: “Today I am in Rwanda and maybe tomorrow I will be in a different place where I will be operating with Rwandans and I should be able to understand exactly what their culture is.”
College Commandant Maj Gen. Jean Bosco Kazura said the cultural day was celebrated as it values the students’ various cultures.
He particularly said that culture had become a fundamental variable in understanding and solving strategic security challenges.
“One of the things that cause trouble and conflict is not knowing each other,” he said.
“What we are promoting here is to show that we are all Africans and to be Africans we need to live in peace, we need to live in harmony”.
Maj. John Mbale from the Zambian Army proudly wore a skirt which is traditional wear from the Lozi people of the Western Province of Zambia. / Regis Umurengezi
He assured that the college will continue promoting diversity and helping its members cultivate the culture of living together and sharing.
It was the third time the festival was being held. It was attended by 48 students from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.