The phrase‘only time will tell’ should be given Rwandan citizenship and a modern apartment atop Rebero Hill with a clear view of Kigali’s beauty, especially at night, as a lasting reminder of fruits of the government’s past daring decisions.
It’s a phrase with philosophical meaning, holding that, future events are unknown and that the outcome of a desired situation cannot be ascertained at the time a decision is announced, until the said future events unfold; for Rwanda, time has indeed been an effective advocate.
This week, time was at it again, producing a beautiful example of why it has been Rwanda’s best defender against critics in form of a two-minute video clip that has since gone viral, showing Rwandan cultural dancers raiding the Arsenal training grounds in London leaving players awed.
A professional soccer training session is a serious affair so when players heard African drums and saw men dressed like warriors marching towards the grounds, the initial surprise on their faces was not just beautiful to watch but also quite understandable.
Yet the real beauty, like Rwanda Development Board CEO, Clare Akamanzi tweeted, was in how fast the players recovered from the initial surprise and their bodies instinctively connected with the beat of the Rwandan drums, getting them started with the warrior dance with glee!
Moments later, the video was posted by Arsenal across their social media channels, and it instantly became an internet hit as millions of the club’s followers around the world shared the clip on their own timelines.
When the ‘Visit Rwanda sleeve sponsorship’ deal with Arsenal was announced, over a month ago, it took the world by surprise, drawing fiery criticism that nearly suffocated voices of optimism.
There was deep curiosity around the deal with many a critic demanding to know details of the agreement and weather it was worth the money that was reported in the media to have been paid by Rwanda, just to feature on the Arsenal shirt sleeve.
But time is beginning to provide those details one by one, as the deal enters implementation phase. Critics had suspected that the government was shying away from sharing the details because they were probably not worth the money they had paid.
After that Intore Dance takeover at Arsenal grounds, time has revealed that Rwandan negotiators were not just smart but also creative in packaging the deal, to the country’s branding advantage.
From that Intore session, the world now has an idea of what to expect when they decide to visit Rwanda, whose cultural dance is akin to Brazil’s Samba dance, which is one of that country’s top tourist attractions
Inside Rwanda, we Manchester United fans and those of other Premier league clubs are going through the test of our lives, torn between being the patriots that we are and preserving our friendly rivalry that we have so passionately held against our Arsenal counterparts.
That Visit Rwanda Sponsorship deal has made it difficult for any Rwandan to hate on Arsenal and as the new season opens, only time will tell, how many Rwandans decide to become Arsenal fans.
So, the deal is not just good for Rwanda, it’s good for Arsenal as it wins it new fans in Africa.
It is early days for the new Premier League season and it has started with Rwanda surprising the world of soccer fans by showcasing its legendary cultural dance. Now the question is, after the Intore dancers, what is Rwanda going to pull next, out of that Arsenal shirt sleeve?
Again, only time will tell. The world should abide by time, as they watch, one by one, more revelations from deep inside the partnership with Arsenal. So far, every revelation has positively been welcomed, vindicating the deal as having been prudently negotiated by Rwandan agents.
Imagine if details had been shared at the time the deal was announced, it would have denied everyone the element of surprise whenever something slides out of the Arsenal shirt sleeve. The Intore Dancers’ takeover was a beautiful surprise for us all, we look forward to more.
Already, there is talk of Arsenal stars set to attend this year’s Kwita Izina ceremony as part of the sleeve sponsorship deal; this is not to kill the element of surprise as we still don’t know which stars will make the trip to Kinigi, to name baby gorillas; only time will tell.
As time is Rwanda’s best advocate, it is also the worst nightmare for critics of the Rwandan government in and outside the country. It is safer not to shoot down initiatives upon their announcement, but to give them the benefit of doubt as time does its magic.
See, time is fair. If critics can only be patient, sometimes, it is possible for time to be on their side. Yes, some initiatives have not been as successful as envisaged, over the last two decades, but their limited success has provided important lessons to inform better strategies.
If you had questions about the Arsenal-Rwanda deal, trust in time to reveal details. As for me and other Manchester United fans, only time will tell whether we buy that Arsenal Jersey.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.