People: Abanyarwanda (plural); Omunyarwanda (singular).
Language: Runyarwanda or Kinyarwanda
Official languages: Kinyarwanda, English and French
Religion: Christianity 94%, Islam 5%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 2%
Traditional Music & Dancing
Rwanda offers a variety of musical genres, from the traditional to the modern. The best known Kinyarwanda dance is that of the Intore (the chosen ones) who were the king’s military dancers. Over the last few decades, the word has evolved to refer to the dance itself. The Intoore dancers would perform at the court of Umwami (King), telling the story of their exploits in battle with gracefully choreographed dances accompanied by songs and drums. The male dancers are trained to jump as high as 2.4 meters off the ground.
Traditional Rwandan dances are usually accompanied by drums. Historically an exclusive role for men, drumming has been embraced by women in recent years, with several women’s drumming groups performed all over the country.
Another instrument that was a male domain is Inanga (African zither). One of the finest performers on this instrument today is a Munyarwanda lady, Sophie Nzayisenga, who was taught by her father.
Rwanda’s traditional handicrafts continue to be made, especially in the rural communities. Agaseke baskets, wood carvings and ceramic products are always worth seeking out when one visits Rwanda. Markets like this one in Kigali are worth visiting.