For all of last weekend, I was on duty up north in Musanze, and then on to Rubavu. That duty was the need to kick start and participate in the process of identifying the country’s next Nyampinga.
Elsa Iradukunda is soon old news y’know …, well, at least in as far as the institution of Miss Rwanda is concerned.
I had a message for Iradukunda that unfortunately I wasn’t able to deliver to her at the Musanze auditions because during lunch, she sat so far away from me. I finally got my chance the next day, at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Hotel in Rubavu where we (journalists and the Miss Rwanda team) lodged for the night before auditions the following day.
My word to her was that if it were I in her shoes, I wouldn’t have allowed to take part in the process of anointing my successor. How can I?
I further said that if, like her, I was called upon to hug and smile at Miss Rwanda hopefuls while my own reign is nearing its end, I would instead box or slap them hard across the face. Yes, I am that allergic to competition and usurpation of my hard-earned privileges.
Musanze was where it all started (the auditions, I mean), but that place can pass for now, seeing as it easily is the most mentioned district in the not-so-short and equally not-so-long lifespan of this column.
That leaves us with Rubavu, or Gisenyi, for those who are slow to let g of the past.
Gisenyi is great, and Gisenyi could as well be referred to as “Goma”, or “DRC”, if just on account of the rate at which you will hear people speak Swahili with a heavy Lingala accent.
For not only is this a classical beach front town, it also is a borderline one. It’s one and the same place with Goma, although the early colonialists in this neck of the woods decided otherwise by drawing an imaginary line cutting through the two towns like a bread knife through cake.
Rubavu is home to many things; meticulous and majestic boulevards, verdant hills, some old, classic colonial style mansions and villas and manor houses; it is also home to sambaza fish.
Rubavu further boasts pitch black and fertile volcanic soils that make tilling of the soil an enviably cool profession.
The town brims with tourism and hospitality-leaning businesses, and some of the coziest hotel swimming pools in the country, which is something of an irony because if there is one nook of the country that does not really need artificial water bodies, it is Rubavu.