Each year for the past five years, the Red Rocks Cultural Centre has been organizing a series of events under the umbrella of Cultural Tourism Week, which acts as a curtain raiser to Kwita Izina—Rwanda’s annual baby gorilla naming and conservation ceremony.
According to reliable information, this year’s event is scheduled to take place from August 25 to September 1, 2017, in Nyakinama village, Musanze district.
As always, organizers have lined up a host of activities that will culminate in the big ceremony of naming the baby gorillas on September 1.
Some of the activities lined up for this year’s event include conservation and community tourism development debates, the “gorilla marathon”, “gorilla nights”, visits to cultural centres and markets around Musanze, as well as exhibition of locally-made art pieces, among others.
These events that usually bring together tourism industry players, safari tourists, and the local community – are created to raise awareness about Rwanda’s rich cultural heritage and act as a forum through which the community can interact in order to set an agenda for its development.
“The Cultural Tourism Week is an ideal networking opportunity for civil society organizations, tourism industry players, policy makers and government officials, considering that the event attracts a sophisticated audience that appreciates our commitment to realizing sustainable community development through cultural tourism and conservation,” says Greg Bakunzi, founder of the Red Rocks Cultural Centre.
Hassan Nkurunziza has worked at the Red Rocks Cultural Centre almost since its inception, and has been actively taking part in the Cultural Tourism Week.
He says that from its infancy, he has seen this event grow to become the big event it is today. “When it had just started, even the locals themselves were hesitant to participate because they were a little bit cagey about what it was all about. But through sensitization, we now have a big event that draws people from all over the country and visitors from all corners of the world,” he says.
He further adds that the most important thing the Cultural Tourism Week has managed to achieve is the promotion of Rwandan culture through cultural activities and debates that are normally held during the week-long event.
“One cannot run away from his past. It’s our unique culture that binds us, but when we don’t preserve it, then it means we are going to be a divided community with no sense of direction. I’m happy that the Cultural Tourism Week has helped many people to reflect on the beauty of their culture, and discuss ways through which it can be preserved despite the fact that modern society is going through radical social and cultural changes, some of which are destructive in nature to our esteemed heritage,” he said.