The hustle and bustle is intense, people seem to completely mind their own business, the rhythm in the air is a melange of an almost annoying sound made of hooting taxis, negotiating customers and screeching wheel barrows carrying food stuffs.
Just as I pull out my phone to make a call to Claude my ears experience a deafeningly sharp sound and this is when I realise that I am standing right next to the Nyamirambo main mosque that is located in Biryogo.The sound coming from the mosque’s mwazin calling people for evening prayers.
As part of my Rwandan shopping experience, I had learnt that to get trendy and cheap shoes and jeans I had to go to Nyamirambo in Biryogo and I knock my self out.
So this time around I know exactly where to start from and the perfect time to get the real feel and picture of what happens in the place which has earned itself a reputation of being the Rwandan trend and fashion setters.
Claude Iyamuremye is a cloth and shoe vendor in Biryogo, I got to know him on my second trip to the congested suburb when I had gone to buy a pair of casual shoes for myself, from then I got his number and he became my ‘designer’.
The most intriguing thing is how the nocturnal Business is conducted in this area, the sellers start unfastening their bags at around 5; 30 pm and actual selling kicks of like at a round 6 pm, their business is lit by security lights from the surrounding shops.
The activity stretches up to 8: 30 and before any one notices there is no market, the sellers in this market are a little more swift and shrewd, their style of operation has sharpened their instinct to know a person who will buy with in the first two minutes of negotiation, this has helped them in saving time and selling their stuff with in a short time.
“We sell these things to people who know them, our prices are relatively lower because of the nature of our operation and the fact that we have no capacity of storing large stocks,” revealed Claude
In this market a variety of things are sold including designer brands like All star shoes, Timber land boots, jeans, Shirts and T-shirts, ladies bags and belts among others, Thierry Dusabeyezu one of the dealers in these products says buyers come from all places to buy.
I came to find out that this market is illegal and that’s why they are always selling while on the alert of police which confiscates their goods.
When one walks on a Nyamirambo street, a person cannot fail to notice a distinctive array of trendy fashions that people wear, this comes with a sense of style that these people have acquired from a cosmopolitan status this place is gaining.
Just like one can tell who drinks bell as the beer slogan goes…you can also tell who shops from Nyamirambo by mere looking at them.
The fashions churned out in this place ranges from youthful tastes to African traditional attires that are significantly worn by middle aged and old people who want to observe an original look and the same time remaining dapper.
In an interview with Society Magazine, Esperance Mukandoli who owns a large shop selling traditional attires including bitenge of all styles in the busiest centre of Nyamirambo says she gets the products from Congo, Tanzania and, after which she makes different traditional fashions out of them.
It is amazing how such a crowded place can command such fashion authority but I guess the reason lies behind the cultures and the receptive mindsets of the people staying in this place, which has roots from where they came from.