Society Debate: Should old Kigali give way for a modern city?

Let’s save historical Kigali While taking my usual walks along Kigali city roads, I realized that something was missing. Apart from the perfect roads, the ever changing traffic lights and the outstanding round-abouts, I missed my shady avocado trees, the historical landmark of Kigali streets.Meanwhile, the capital secured a place among the fastest advancing cities in Africa. Reconstruction ranges from infrastructure to street gardens and round-abouts.
BY LILLIAN NAKAYIMA
BY LILLIAN NAKAYIMA

Let’s save historical Kigali

While taking my usual walks along Kigali city roads, I realized that something was missing. Apart from the perfect roads, the ever changing traffic lights and the outstanding round-abouts, I missed my shady avocado trees, the historical landmark of Kigali streets.

Meanwhile, the capital secured a place among the fastest advancing cities in Africa.

Reconstruction ranges from infrastructure to street gardens and round-abouts.

Rebuilding the city is great but what happens to the historical and cultural features of the old Kigali?
 
 Sure there are sites, not well built but with great historical significance. History, culture and character of a place surpass buildings.

For instance, Biryogo, in Nyamirambo, is a famous big slum in Kigali.

 It’s also a night-time place where people work until very late. Wandegeya in Uganda is often compared with Nyamirambo because of the liveliness.

Demolishing and putting up whole new cities means losing its rich history.

Rebuilding Kigali shouldn’t mean demolishing all the old structures.  A choice needs to be made of what is worth and not worth saving.

Some places that really hold important history should be renovated, not destroyed.
I admire the Parliament building in Kimihurura.

It was renovated but really kept in its historical state. On the outside, the building looks old with its bullet holes. The inside shows a perfect new construction.
 
Keeping some original features attracts tourists. It’s advisable for national parks, swamps, and hotsprings, to be kept as natural as possible.

All I wish is that original things are always appreciated. One reason tourists flood Rome is the originality of the ancient city.

Egypt’s pyramids draw visitors because they showcase the past.

And how will our off springs know about the famous avocado trees that lined Kigali streets, if not a single one is standing?

The great reconstruction works should carry on. But they can exist side by side with historical sites. I don’t want to go to a museum where historical trees, houses, names e.t.c are on display. We should be able to walk amidst history.

Lillianean@yahoo.com