Plans for Kigali Cultural Village gain momentum

Tourists and City of Kigali dwellers will soon be provided with high class cultural performances, historical facts, entertainment and leisure activities under one roof: the Kigali Cultural Village.
Cultural artists illustrate how backcloth is extracted at Nyanza Museum. (Timothy Kisambira)
Cultural artists illustrate how backcloth is extracted at Nyanza Museum. (Timothy Kisambira)

Tourists and City of Kigali dwellers will soon be provided with high class cultural performances, historical facts, entertainment and leisure activities under one roof: the Kigali Cultural Village. 

Officials at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said they have finalised the concept of the Village, located in Rebero Hill, Kicukiro District.

The Rwf3 billion centre will occupy a 30-hectare piece of land and construction is expected to start next year and the centre opened in two years.

RDB said the Village’s construction is part of efforts to increase tourism revenues by 25 per cent by 2017.

The idea was conceived at National Leaders’ Retreat in 2009.

Jean de Dieu Mukeshimana, tourism product development and facilities officer at RDB, said the idea was conceptualised as a way of diversifying tourism products in the country.

“Our cultural products are dispersed all over the country. Tourists arriving here are not getting the entire image of the country and culture as whole,” Mukeshimana said.

“So, having the cultural village will converge the Rwandan culture in one place.”

The Village is not meant to replace cultural sites and other cultural activities in the country, rather it will complement and market them, he said.

“It’s one way of marketing the culture of the country to all people who come to Kigali,” Mukeshimana said.

“For instance, concerning traditional history, like the life of kings who performed miraculous exploits, the centre is in Nyanza. If a tourist arrives at Kigali Cultural Village, they will be given a brief on the issue and advised to seek detailed information from Nyanza Museum.

“A tourist might say, ‘I really need to have more experience on Igishakamba from Nkombo’ (traditional dance style). So, we will connect them with those people who are knowledgeable enough in that specific type of dance,” he said.

Mukeshimana added that it also concerns people living in Kigali City.

“We had no permanent place designed to cater for Kigali City dwellers who want to experience culture and entertainment,” he said.

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One the games that where used to entertain the King and the local people.

Amenities

The Kigali Cultural Village will have amenities such as hotels, to be built by investors, while a section will be set aside for cultural performances and related disciplines like handcrafts.

In addition, the Village will have an amphitheatre, an auditorium as well as leisure and fitness area.

“The Village’s architectural design is such that people will enter through one part and get out after experiencing all its components through a separate exit,” Mukeshimana said.

Leonidas Gatete, community and cultural tourism officer at RDB, said the Village will server as a hub of culture, entertainment and exhibition.

“It is like an interpretation centre of the country’s culture. The landscape will include medicinal and traditional trees which played a major part of the culture,” he said.

He said work on the design of the Village began in 2010 by KEIOS Development Consulting, an Italian company, while the business plan was elaborated by Centerprise Africa, a Kenyan firm.

The expropriation was done from 2012 and the valuation of people’s property is halfway complete, with Rwf3 billion of the Rwf5 billion already paid.

Kigali Cultural Village is expected to boost the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy target of growing tourism revenue by 25 per cent annually.

Statistical from RDB shows that in 2011, revenue from tourism grew to $251.3 million from $175 million in 2009. In 2012, tourism fetched $281.8 million in revenue.

Last year, the sector fetched $293 million.

In September, RDB announced its projections to increase threefold, with revenue from tourism to increase to $860 million in the next two years.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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