Students of Green Hills Academy have visited Igiti kya Gasabo, formerly home to many great kings of Rwanda.
According to Kalisa Rugano, the caretaker of this historical area, situated in Gasabo District, most tales suggest that the early kings settled here before setting off in pursuit of kingdom expansion.
He, however, expressed concern about the diminishing interest in cultural sites among the youth.
“Many students leave the country (for further studies or other reasons) before understanding their roots so they find it hard to cope when they return. Sometimes this useful information fades with generations,” Rugano said, adding that young people should visit the heritage site to understand their history.
Gaspard Kagenza, the deputy head principal Green Hills Academy, urged the students to heed Rugano’s advice and always be a visible national emblem.
“It is important to identify ourselves as Rwandans wherever we may be and visiting ancestral sites is the first step towards national development,” Kagenza said.
Andrew Ntabirwa, a researcher from the Institute of the National Museums of Rwanda, said: “Although the site had previously been ignored to the point of destruction, the move to reveal more historical areas in the area is continuing.”
This is the second time Green Hills Academy students are visiting the site. The first time was one year ago.
What we have gained from the visit
I have understood where we originated from and how colonialism affected our society. From the brief history I have been told here, I now know how Kigali came into being. This visit is very important because I will authoritatively tell my children our history.
I now understand how problems came about in our traditional societies. I have also come to learn how the different cultural practices came to be. Much as I have just heard the tale and not seen what they have narrated, I can gladly say I was a witness to the story telling.
I have been able to learn and understand the culture in Rwanda. Even when I travel elsewhere, I will be glad to tell people everything that I have learnt from this place.
I have learnt how ethnic labels came about. I have discovered that our grandfathers originate from the same place which means we are all one people. I am now interested in visiting more sites in Rwanda.
When I visit such sites, I get to trace the roots of my culture.
It’s a good experience and far better than visiting places that don’t matter to me.