Rwandans in Zimbabwe and Ankara celebrate Umuganura

Rwanda’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James Musoni (L) with the Rwandan community in Zimbabwe at the weekend celebrated the National Harvest Day. / Courtesy

The Rwanda community in Zimbabwe at the weekend celebrated the National Harvest Day known as Umuganura.

The celebrations were held at the residence of Rwanda’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James Musoni, who underscored the historical significance Umuganura.

“Umuganura gives us an opportunity to promote our cultural values, connect with our roots and celebrate our achievements in all sectors of the country’s life,” he said.

Musoni presented the socio economic achievements Rwanda recorded in the past one year, saying that the country was a growth trajectory.

“Rwanda is recording economic growth as a result of sound and wise leadership under President Paul Kagame,” Ambassador Musoni told delegates who also included Zimbabweans.

He commended the cordial relations between the nations, characterised by economic cooperation.

Every first Friday of August, Rwandans celebrate national cultural Thanksgiving called Umuganura.

Meanwhile, on August 2, Rwandans and Friends of Rwanda in Turkey met at Hilton Hotel in Ankara to celebrate Umuganura.

The celebration, which was led by Rwanda’s Ambassador to Turkey Williams Nkurunziza, was attended by about 250 people including Diplomats from different African Missions in Turkey, government officials led by Director for Africa in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Ambassador Ahmet Rıza Demirer as well as the business community and friends of Rwanda.

They also participated in a 15km race dubbed Umuganura Race which was won by a Rwandan medical student, Rutayisire Faustin.

Ibrahim Uwihoreye, the Coordinator of the Rwandan Community in Turkey, the Rwandan Community in Turkey highlighted that Umuganura was intended to celebrate the achievement made by Rwandans.

Ambassador Williams Nkurunziza in his remarks indicated that traditionally, Umuganura was held to celebrate the end of a harvest season, and was a festive time when families, communities and the nation came together to celebrate their achievements, to share a meal and to reflect on their plans for the future.

He further said that the practice dates back to the third Century BC when agriculture was first introduced in Rwanda, and became most popular during the reign of King Ruganzu II Ndoli from 1510-1545, nearly 100 years before the Americans started their own thanksgiving culture in 1621 which was institutionalized in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln when he proclaimed Thanksgiving Day in November of the same year.

The Ambassador also indicated that Umuganura festival was the second most important day in Rwanda, and the head of Umuganura was the second most important person after the King, because the economy was and still is important, unity was and still is important and Umuganura promoted communal solidarity and national cohesion.

In part, this why Umuganura was the first practice that the colonial powers abolished in 1925 because it was opposing to their Divide and Rule strategies.

Additional reporting by Kelvin Jakachira in Harare.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com