As the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) draws to a close, we hope our visitors enjoyed both the summit and their stay in the country. Before you say goodbye, however, there are quite a few souvenirs that we recommend that you buy, for memories. Here are a few;
It’s rare to visit a Rwandan home and not see imigongo art hanging on the walls in the living room or dining room. This native art adds uniqueness to any space.
Imigongo is an art practice common in Rwanda that is traditionally made with cow dung. It is usually made in colors such as black, white and red, with curved and symmetrical designs painted on walls, pottery and canvas.
This art form is known to have originated in the Kibungo Province (Southeastern Rwanda) in the 18th century. Kakira, the son of Kimenyi, who was a king of Gisaka, is said to have invented the art of beautifying houses and making them more striking. Today’s imigongo artwork has largely drifted off walls and sits on portable wooden shelves, plates, or wall hangings. It is one of the things that attract tourists. You can find this kind of art in several craft shops in the city.
If you like hot and spicy food, akabanga is for you! This is a hot chili oil sauce made in Rwanda. It is derived from a mixture of 80 percent fresh chili pepper and 20 percent vegetable oil. Unlike other hot sauces that stay in the mouth, akabanga has a very unique and tasty taste.
Akabanga is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “little secret”, a name given to the chili sauce after people tasted its uniqueness. The Rwandan businessman and food entrepreneur Sina Gérard first invented the signature chili oil recipe around 2001. The chili oil is available in almost every store, newsagent and supermarket. Its portability makes it easy to take anywhere. Pack in as much as you can.
The African clothing known as ‘kitenge’ has been designed in many ways to make it look creative, unlike in the past when it was only worn as clothing, especially for women. Nowadays, everything can be made from it, such as bags, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, headbands, duvets, doormats, lampshades, table mats, decorations, and so on.
Places known for their stylish kitenge are; Rwanda Clothing Store, Igitenge Fashion House, Umugani Fashions, L&M store, House of Tayo, Afriek Rwanda Ltd and more. For one-of-a-kind kitenge accessories, this and other boutiques around town are full of them.
Crochet, 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 the hooks one can generate about a million ideas for this. It’s interesting that young people today are learning crotchet skills through friends and through YouTube, setting up their own businesses.
For good quality crochet products, visit Komera Creative, Mpinganzima Knits, Urubohero Ethical Fashion, Kimihurura Handcraft Village, Made in Kigali Ltd boutique, Umuzabibu Mwiza – Handspun Hope, Tuberwe Knitting Tailoring & Handcraft Center. They can all be assessed online, making it easy to deliver right to your doorstep.
Some old things may have disappeared with technology and progress, but not with pottery. Making ships and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials is still artistic. Rwanda is a place where you can expect some original pottery collections. If you are a coffee lover, imagine drinking it in an earthenware cup. Whether you need vases for your flowers, a teapot or interior decoration, pottery has many options. Recommended places for the best pottery are; Gatagara pottery. The place has unique styles to paint the items with different colors like blue, gray and brown. Others include Kigali Pottery Collections, New Store Kacyiru, Urumuri Pottery, and Kigali Ceramic Filter Factory.
Here, weaving is one of the many activities that the locals do to earn a living, reducing poverty in communities. Weaving is a practice known to heal the mind and soul. What would you do with a basket? One may wonder. But there is quite a lot. Baskets can be used for home decor, as vases, centerpieces, storage and laundry, bowls, planters, and so on, but come in all colors, shapes, and designs. You can easily order all kinds of baskets on irebebaskets.rw.
The great thing about coffee is that you can have it anytime. And the taste depends on how it is roasted. Our coffee has a distinct nutty, earthy taste. Known for producing some of the best coffee in the world, Rwanda is blessed with the good soil quality necessary for producing delicious coffee, reason enough to use at least two, three or 10 packs of coffee. But if you’re not sure when you’ll be back, buy enough.
Rest assured that you will have a variety to choose from, this could 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 are Bodied Coffee Beans, Martini Medium Roast Rwanda Abakundakawa, Kivubelt Coffee Ground Rwandan Specialty Coffee, the list is endless.