When you visit the six major museums in the country, you will realise that they are all well versed with ancestors’ history and lifestyle. But you need to go beyond the museums if you are going to learn much more about the past of the country of a thousand hills. All it takes is to visit sites that embody the lifestyle, leadership, heroism and the beliefs of Rwandan ancestors.
Take the example of Ruhango district in the Southern Province. The district has already identified eight touristic sites which have distinctive and attractive stories but I suggest you start with the nearest sites.
When driving from Ruhango town centre towards Huye, you will enjoy the view of Kamegeri Rock where King Yuhi IV Gahindiro burnt one of his subjects (Kamegeri) from. Kamegeri, who baked that rock and proposed to the king to burn all his enemies on it, was the first to taste his own ‘medicine’ because of his evil ways.
Still in Ruhango Sector, one can visit the Musamo daughter (Umukobwa wa Musamo). This amazing touristic site is also a rock.
Folklore has it that Musamo was on his daughter’s wedding day accompanying his daughter to meet her husband-to-be (bridegroom). When they arrived at this site, the surface opened up and ‘swallowed’ the girl. Surprisingly, according to residents here, a rock, the size of the girl and that looks like her, emerged in that very spot.
Since then, the king decreed that no father should ever accompany their daughter to their weddings. And that culture has continued to be respected to date.
When you continue along the main road towards Muhanga, don’t ignore Ntenyo at Mirenge’s place. Mirenge was a wealthy person and is still referred to as the richest Rwandan ever. Claver Gasirabo, an employee of Ruhango District, says Mirenge used to dump residues of sorghum beer (ibivuzo) in one place until a hill was formed. The place was then called ‘ku mugina w’imvuzo.’
When you go deeper into the villages of Ruhango, you will see a place in Kabagari Sector where King Kigeli IV Rwabugiri invoked the ancestors in the traditional ritual known as ‘guterekera’.
At the place, you will find some of the containers with which he used to serve them sorghum beer.
You will also see the Ruganzu footprint — (Ikirenge cya Ruganzu) on a rock in Kinazi Sector.