Rwanda’s inaugural edition of the automobile show took place on Saturday at Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC)-Kigali, featuring more than 30 vintage and luxury cars and over two dozens superbikes, exciting auto enthusiasts who turned up for the event.
Dubbed, ‘Shyuha Festival Edition 1’, the show attracted hundreds who enjoyed car drifting, free rides and revving sounds of motorbikes and car engines.
Locals and foreigners turned up in large numbers and welcomed the car show saying that it’s a great idea bringing together automobile lovers to appreciate and learn together how to safeguard their vehicles and turn them into great souvenirs.
A 1959 Triumph Spitfire was the centre of attraction when it entered the show and was declared to be the oldest among all the cars on show. This small British two-seat sport car is said to be the only one in Africa according to the owner, Hassan Jammoul, a Lebanese living in Rwanda since 2005.
“I bought it from someone in the United Kingdom. A lot of people have tried to buy it from me but I can never sell it. This is a classic car which my kids and grandkids will inherit,” Jammoul said.
He adds that he has been eagerly waiting for a car show in Rwanda.
“I hope this will attract more people from around the region and elsewhere to showcase their vintage cars,” he added. Among the highlights was 63-year old Gratien Buzizi, who have been driving his 1985 Honda Accord for the last 33 years. He noted that his love for cars will be passed on to his children.
“In the same way we do regular laundry for our clothes, I have done the same for my car through the years. It is my best friend. It is my first time in such a show but whoever thought of this is a genius because we should have had this like two decades ago. We are learning and having fun at the same time,” Buzizi said.
Apart from the vintage cars from the 50’s, 60’s to the 90’s, the show also attracted recent car models, including luxury brands, with emphasis on their state-of-the-art technologies and fancy customization.
One of the exhibitors, who only identified himself as Muhire, brought a 1987 Toyota Hilux SC, a 1989 Mercedes Benz S300, and a Chinese made electrical scooter to the show.
He told The New Times that it was about time for Rwandan automobile lovers to finally come together and share experiences, adding that, in the future, the car shows would get bigger and better.
Jules Rugwiro, a car lover who took a ride from every car around, said that the car show defied the ‘only Japanese car’ stereotype, by bringing together different brands and models.
“In Africa people think that Toyota is the greatest brand ever. This show proves the contrary. Some of us will no longer have to go to any neighbouring country for a car show,” Rugwiro said.
British national Matthew Wilson, a superbike owner riding a 2003 Yamaha Vmax, said that he took part in a similar festival in Kenya in 2015 and won a half million Rwandan Francs.
He added: “This kind of show also helps to make money. I get that it’s the first edition but in the future people could win big prizes while mechanics will be sharing their skills,” Wilson said.
Paul Bakuru, the organiser of the festival, said the turn-up was fair for a first edition, adding that they want to make the event an annual affair that attracts exhibitors and auto lovers from across the region.