As the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) approaches its end, we hope our visitors have relished both the summit and their stay in the country. However, before you say goodbye, there are quite a number of souvenirs we encourage you to purchase, for memories. Here are some;
It is rare to visit a Rwandan home and not find imigongo art hanging on the walls in the sitting room or dining area. This native art adds uniqueness to any space.
Imigongo is an art custom prevalent in Rwanda traditionally made using cow dung. It’s usually made in colours such as black, white, and red, with curved and symmetrical designs that are painted on walls, pottery, and canvas.
This art form of painting is known to have originated in the 18th century in the Province of Kibungo (south-eastern Rwanda). Kakira, the son of Kimenyi, who was a King of Gisaka, was said to have devised the art of enhancing houses and making them more eye-catching. Today’s imigongo artwork has mostly drifted off walls and is on portable wooden boards, plates, or wall hangings. It’s one of the things that attract tourists. You can find this kind of art in several craft shops around town.
If you love your food hot and spicy, then akabanga is the thing for you! This is a chilli oil hot sauce made in Rwanda. It is derived from a mixture of 80 per cent fresh chilli pepper and 20 per cent vegetable oil. Unlike other hot sauces that stay in the mouth, akabanga has a very unique and tasty flavour.
Akabanga is a Kinyarwanda word that means “little secret” a name that was given to the chilli sauce after people tasted its uniqueness. Rwandan businessman and food entrepreneur Sina Gérard first invented the distinctive chilli oil recipe around 2001. The chilli oil is available in almost every shop, kiosk, and supermarket. Its portability makes it easy to be carried anywhere. Pack as many as you can.
The African apparel known as ‘kitenge’ has been designed in many ways to make it appear creative, unlike before when it was just worn as an attire, especially for women. Today, a lot of stuff can be made out of it, such as, bags, bangles, necklaces, earrings, headbands, duvets, doormats, lampshades, tablemats, decorations, and so forth.
Places well known for stylish kitenge are; Rwanda Clothing Store, Igitenge Fashion House, Umugani Fashions, L&M store, House of Tayo, Afriek Rwanda Ltd, and more. For unique kitenge accessories, these mentioned and other boutiques in town are stocked with them.
Crocheted, knitted items
When it comes to design and creativity, crotchet is the way to go. Whether it’s a sweater, dress, scarf, shoes, bag, hat, or sponge, anything crocheted looks unique. With the yarn and hooks, one can generate about a million ideas for this. It’s interesting that young people are nowadays learning crotchet skills through friends and via YouTube, and creating businesses of their own.
For good quality crotchet products, check out Komera Creative, Mpinganzima Knits, Urubohero Ethical Fashion, Kimihurura Handcraft Village, Made in Kigali Ltd boutique, Umuzabibu Mwiza – Handspun Hope, Tuberwe Knitting Tailoring & Handcraft Center. All of them can be assessed online, which means deliveries can easily be made to your doorstep.
Some old things may have vanished with technology and advancement, but not pottery. Creating vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials is still artistic. Rwanda is a place you expect to find a number of original pottery collections. If you’re a coffee person, imagine sipping it in a pottery cup. Whether you need vases for your flowers, a tea jar, or interior decor, pottery has many options. Recommended places for best pottery are; Gatagara Pottery. The place has unique styles of painting the items with different colours like blue, grey, and brown. Others are Kigali Pottery Collections, New Store Kacyiru, Urumuri Pottery, and Kigali Ceramic Filter Factory.
Here, weaving is one of the many activities done by the locals for a living, thus curbing poverty in communities. Weaving is a practice known to heal the mind and the soul. What would you do with a basket? One may ask. But there is quite a lot. Baskets can be used for home décor, as vases, centrepieces, storage and laundry, bowls, planters, and so forth, yet come in all colours, shapes, and designs. You can easily order all kinds of baskets at irebebaskets.rw.
The beauty about coffee, is that you can have it any time. And its flavour depends on how it is roasted. Our coffee has a markedly nutty, earthy flavour. Rwanda is known for producing some of the best coffee in the world and is blessed with good soil quality necessary for producing delightful coffee, reason enough to go with at least two, three, or 10 packs of coffee. But if you’re not sure of when you will come back, buy in plenty.
Be assured you’ll have a variety to pick from, it can be Gorilla’s Coffee, AmazonFresh Direct Trade Rwanda Ground Coffee, Rwanda Bean Ikerekezo-Vision Premium Coffee Beans, Cubico Rwanda Kopakaki Coffee, or Kirkland Signature Rwanda Whole Bean Coffee, Cooper’s Rwanda Full Bodied Coffee Beans, Martini Medium Roast Rwanda Abakundakawa, Kivubelt Coffee Ground Rwandan Specialty Coffee, the list is endless.