The Minister for Sports and Culture has called on Rwandans to work together to contribute to the country’s development programmes, encouraging citizens to preserve the culture of sharing their harvests.
Julienne Uwacu delivered the message yesterday at the National Harvest Day (Umuganura) celebration in Nyanza District.
She said that Umuganura no longer only focuses on agricultural harvests but rather the country’s gains across the board.
Uwacu said that the growth in the agriculture sector of 8 per cent in the 2017/18 fiscal year, as well as 12 per cent in service sector, speaks to the importance of Umuganura, a centuries-old thanksgiving ceremony that serves to appreciate the year’s harvest.
“We laud the effort by Rwandans and our partners who contributed to this year’s economic growth in different sectors. On this day, we have to look at what we can do to further development and share our harvest with the have-nots,” she said encouraging people to share their harvest, especially with farmers whose yield were low due to heavy rain.
In ancient Rwanda, Umuganura was one of the most important ceremonies feted by Rwandans at the beginning of every harvest season.
The festivities were an occasion to celebrate the country’s achievements in terms of harvest both at the kingdom and family levels.
Uwacu reminded the residents of Nyanza and Rwandans in general that as they celebrate Umuganura, the event marks the beginning of the Rwandan traditional year, and so everyone should sign a performance contract (imihigo) committing to better results in the year ahead.
“We all have to work hand in hand without wasting time for the future of our country. Primarily, this year we have embarked on a programme intended to foster Rwanda’s development and the projects that were outlined by the leaders are expected to lead the country to self-reliance,” she said.
This year’s festivities were merged with the closing ceremony of 10th Pan-African Dance Festival (FESPAD), a biennial event that celebrates the diversity of African cultures.
However, the minister said that there is still a long way in achieving the level of development that Rwanda aspires to reach.
She urged the youth to continue on the path of innovation in different sectors and to create jobs.
Attended by the residents of Nyanza, tourists and many Rwandans from the Diaspora who are in the country for holidays, the celebration was marked by different cultural dances and other activities.
At the event, some poor people were given cows and health insurance coverage.
A French family of four was among the foreign attendees.
“We came to know about these festivities on Thursday and since we were visiting the King’s palace in Nyanza we said that we couldn’t miss the opportunity to witness one of Africa’s richest cultures,” said Mister Renaud. Rwandans are a hospitable people.”
Across the country, ceremonies were held at the village level where residents came together to celebrated this year’s Umuganura.
The festivities saw residents gather staple food and drinks which they shared as they drew up the plan for the next ‘traditional year’.