Rwanda: The heart of Africa that won’t stop beating

‘...In every heart, there is a drum that beats, steady and strong, it does not know defeat, I feel it pound and know the sound of our true beliefs...’ The words above are from Bryan McKnight’s mid-90s hit ‘When we were Kings’, a soundtrack to a documentary film about the late Muhammad ‘the Greatest’ Ali’s 1974 fight with George Foreman in former Zaire (DRC).

‘...In every heart, there is a drum that beats, steady and strong, it does not know defeat, I feel it pound and know the sound of our true beliefs...’

The words above are from Bryan McKnight’s mid-90s hit ‘When we were Kings’, a soundtrack to a documentary film about the late Muhammad ‘the Greatest’ Ali’s 1974 fight with George Foreman in former Zaire (DRC).

Every time I listen to this song, my mind doesn’t stop relating it to the story of Rwanda’s resilience and determination. This determination should be a source of inspiration to many struggling.

You see, Africa, to many within the continent and beyond, is always looked at as a continent doomed beyond recovery. We are only, and all about corruption, wars, disease, poverty, dirtiness and sometimes (painfully), as an intellectually inferior population.

Many people that have not been to Africa, or Africans that have only seen one side of Africa, are always shocked when they land in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.

These are folks who have always looked at the continent as one large country, and created an imagination of it that is based on the worst, as is often portrayed in the western media. It is not surprising therefore that when they come to Rwanda, with a biased mind of course that Africa is a dead continent, they feel the ‘heart of Africa’ pounding. Rwanda is like that African heartbeat that brings hope to many struggling parts of the continent and some non-African developing countries.

 It proves that no matter how small or poor you are, you should not surrender your dignity nor be obliged to fall at the knees of bigger and richer countries, begging for support and survival. Rwanda reminds us that it is better to wear a ‘simple but clean’ shirt, rather than ‘expensive but dirty’ shirt.

Many African countries should therefore visit and spend sometime in Rwanda to draw lessons and inspiration from Rwanda story. Likewise, our western friends should come and learn, learn what you may ask? Well, learn what you can’t learn with money.

Learn about survival, learn about post-conflict unity and reconciliation, about dignity, go and see determination and get inspired.

Whatever the case though, I guarantee you one thing, you will feel the heart of Africa pounding.

Bryan McKnight continues in his song… ‘in every soul, there is a memory of standing tall, the proudest we could be.. I can not fall, for I recall we were born in majesty, and when the long fight has been fought and won, we’ll stand in the sun'.

 John Mupenzi

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