We ‘Kigali-ers’ live uneventful lives, people; we wake up nice and early, go to work, put in the hours, in the evening go home, watch a Nigerian DVD and sleep.
This rhythm of life is sometimes interrupted on Friday night, when we go drinking with our mates, and Saturday, when we attend one of the many weddings going on.
But that’s it; unless we are drinking beer or sitting through wedding ceremonies, we are just sitting at home doing a lot of nothings-as some people would say.
Have you ever heard of ‘living the daily grind’? Show me a native of Kigali who doesn’t live the ‘daily grind’ and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t lived in Kigali long enough.
But that’s the problem-people aren’t supposed to just soldier on all the time. It’s like some wise man said; “stop existing and start living”.
I think I’m the archetypical Kigali-er; I work all day and get a salary that isn’t heart stopping but lets you live in a certain style and I have a bunch of mates that I meet with every Friday to enjoy a drink with.
That’s pretty much it; I work all week and then sit down at a bar, gossip and discuss football all night. And repeat that sequence the next week…and the next…and next.
Maybe, I might spice up the weeks proceedings, break that sequence by going to the Bourbon Café and have a burger but that’s about only change.
Sometimes I feel like we, as a nation and people, are working so hard to get ahead in the rush to Vision 2020 that we’ve forgotten why we bother.
I believe that Vision 2020 isn’t just a get-rich-quick scheme that will put a lot of dollars in our pockets (although I won’t mind a better bank balance) but rather a vision of how much better our standard of living will be.
I’d hate us to become like Japan…I’ve read about how some bored people decide to commit suicide because their lives are so uneventful, predicting what they’ll be doing the next three months down the road.
I don’t think Rwandans are that desperate and we wouldn’t throw ourselves off bridges…but I understand why some people decide that enough is enough.
Worldwide, the trend is that the City Council is viewed, not only as a provider of services like roads, street lighting and the rest of the usual social amenities -which I think Dr. Kirabo’s administration is endeavoring well in; but also as a planner of social events that cater for the populace.
The Kigali City Council has already begun doing just that with the Miss Kigali program. I was one of the many television viewers who enjoyed the ceremony.
However, the only problem I had was that although the young lady crowned was truly lovely…the question I had to ask myself was “how would a Kigali-er in Kimisagara feel to be involved with the proceeding and feel like a stakeholder in the event and in the other city events”?
Kigali is a wonderful city…its green, clean and safe. But if you want to have fun…you’d better relocate to another East African city.
We don’t have cinema’s (those cinema shacks can’t, in all reality, be called cinema’s), art galleries or public parks (I won’t even bother asking about the Nyarutarama park that is being overgrown by brush).
“Why are you going on and on about this ‘fun’ thing”, you might ask. It’s because of a very obvious statistic; a huge majority of the city dwellers are young people. Young people are not known for being financially prudent but instead spend a lot of money having a good time.
Being a green and clean and being enjoyable aren’t mutually exclusive you know. Some of the best known cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Sydney and Cape Town aren’t only magnets because of their standards of living but also because of the varied entertainment available to the inhabitants.
The private sector is guilty of not doing its part but the City Council has been lazy as well. Here is a suggestion- Kigali City Council should, in collaboration with the private sector and the ministry in charge, organise city wide events that involve everyone…like street parties, parades, concerts and the like.
There is a lot of money to be made; all we have to remember is just how depopulated the city was when the Jamaican songbirds Brick and Lace preformed in Gisenyi. Entertainment starved Kigali-ers flocked Gisenyi like this was the second coming of the Messiah.
Just imagine if that could be a monthly or even weekly, occurrence here. I would have something to look forward to instead of a drink and a Nigerian movie. A fate worse than death.