In a remarkable first for the United Kingdom, the Rwandan Cultural Day unfolded yesterday in Newcastle, drawing Rwandans from across the nation to partake in a night of festivity that transcended geographical distances. Attendees, spanning all age groups, converged to celebrate their shared heritage in an event that showcased the rich mosaics of Rwandan culture.

The event featured an array of captivating speeches from Rwandan community regional leaders and the distinguished presence of the High Commissioner for Rwanda to the United Kingdom, Non Resident Ambassador to Ireland and Non Resident High Commissioner to Malta, Honourable Busingye Johnston. In one aspect of his speech, he reminded all present that culture is the collective identity and unbreakable root connecting the diaspora to the motherland – a sentence that resonated deeply, especially for those born in the UK, serving as a poignant reminder of our heritage.

The Keza cultural group, comprising the very young talents, took the stage to entertain the crowd, alongside them there was also entertainment from the sensational Magyambere, hailed as the ultimate Rwandan cultural drummer, all the way from Brussels, Belgium. The headline performer of the night, Cyusa Ibrahim who travelled from Kigali, Rwanda also left an indelible mark on the event with his mesmerising performance. The culinary delights of the evening added another layer to the cultural immersion, with a feast featuring Igitoki (green bananas), Ibishyimbo (red kidney beans), Chapati, Isambusa (samosas), umuceri (white rice), Ubugali (cassava-based starchy dish), and Inyama zokeje (grilled lamb meat), among other traditional Rwandan delicacies.

Children and the youth performing Rwanda cultural dances. Bottom photo is of Honourable Busingye Johnston giving his speech. (Photos by Unknown)

Organising an event of this magnitude is no easy feat, as a member of the team of organisers – whether working at the front or behind the scenes, we faced the daunting task of selling at least 200 tickets, but against the odds, not only did we achieve this milestone, we also surpassed expectations. The collective effort of the entire team truly deserves praise for a job exceptionally well done (if I’m to say so myself).

Yet, amidst the grandeur of the celebration, there was a personal touch that added a unique flavour to the experience. I reflect on the joy of meeting friends and acquaintances not seen in ages, creating an atmosphere of warmth and camaraderie. The ambiance of the event was nothing short of amazing, with a palpable sense of unity and shared cultural pride permeating the air. Notably, the inclusivity of the event extended beyond the Rwandan community, with friends of Rwanda also joining the festivities. Their presence underscored the global unity and solidarity that events like the Rwandan Cultural Day can foster, transcending borders and bringing people together in celebration of diversity.

Adding to the richness of the event, Rwandan-British small businesses proudly showcased their goods. From intricately crafted handbags, accessories and to the aromatic allure of Rwandan coffee, attendees had the opportunity to engage with and support these entrepreneurs. A special highlight was the generous giveaway donated by RwandAir – a return ticket from London to Kigali. This remarkable gesture not only added an exciting element of anticipation to the event but also highlighted the collaborative spirit between businesses and the diaspora community.

As images and videos from the event circulate on social media, the profound impact of the Rwandan Cultural Day becomes evident. For many, including myself, the event serves as a much-needed connection to our roots, evoking tears of joy and a deep sense of fulfilment. The resounding success of the event suggests that this cultural celebration was not only desired but necessary for the community, marking a significant milestone in the diaspora’s cultural landscape.

The Rwandan Cultural Day in the UK has broken new ground, becoming a beacon of unity, celebration, and reunion for the Rwandan community, fostering a sense of pride and connection that will resonate for years to come.

1 Comment

  1. Umulisa Maria Reply

    Love my culture and missed the event. will there be another one soon?

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