Rwanda hosts continental cultural festival ahead of Umuganura celebrations

Rwanda hosts continental cultural festival ahead of Umuganura celebrations

The 10th edition of the Pan-African Dance Festival -FESPAD started on Sunday in Kigali, also marking the beginning of week-long cultural activities countrywide leading up to the national Umuganura – or Harvest day – celebration on Friday 3 August 2018.

The festival is graced by cultural performers from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Senegal, BurkinaFaso, Ethiopia and Republic of Congo. It will tour five districts namely Rwamagana, Musanze, Huye, Rubavu, and Nyanza.

Various activities to mark Umuganura and FESPAD week will also include exhibition of achievements, carnival of different cultural dance troupes, dance performances, Inyambo [royal cows] Parade, a cultural Night gathering – Igitaramo – and conviviality – ubusabane.


“During the next five days, Rwandans are pleased to share and experience African Unity through cultural dance performances. FESPAD is all about building cultural bridges through African dances and expressing the openness of our shared values” Minister of Culture and Sports, Julienne Uwacu said at the launch.


FESPAD, a Pan African biennial cultural event, has been taking place in Rwanda for more than a decade with an aim of bringing together Africans to promote the culture of peace through African traditional dances. It also offers an opportunity of congregating and thinking about cooperation between the countries focusing on their development through arts and tourism activities related to culture.

Umuganura – literally translated as ‘harvest’ in Kinyarwanda – is one of the historically important ceremonies celebrated by Rwandans at the beginning of every harvest season.  It was an opportunity to celebrate the harvest and to set up strategies for a better harvest in the year ahead. Today, Umuganura has broadened its meaning from formally being agro-based harvest to include achievements from other sectors that contribute to national development such as health, education, ICT, sports, mining, infrastructure, culture, tourism.



Key Umuganura and FESPAD activities:  

  • 29/7/2018: The launch of FESPAD and Umuganura week at Amahoro National Stadium
  • 30/7/2018: The seminar on Intellectual Property
  • 31/7/2018: FESPAD in Musanze & Rwamagana Districts
  • 1/8/2018:  FESPAD in Rubavu and Huye Districts
  • 2/8/2018: Closing Ceremony of FESPAD and “I Nyanza twataramye” at Nyanza Stadium
  • 3/8/2018: Celebration of Umuganura at National level at NYANZA stadium in Nyanza District. The ceremonies will be also organized at Village level, and in Rwandan embassies and High commissions.



  • Umuganura was an important annual event in Rwandan history with an aim to celebrate and set up strategies for a better harvest in the year ahead.
  • Umuganura celebrations started in around 9th century. It was revived by King Ruganzu II Ndoli (1510-1543) when he liberated Rwanda after 15 years under Banyabungo’s invasion.



  • Festival Panafricain de la Danse (FESPAD) was initiated by African Union (AU).
  • It is being celebrated for the 10th time.
  • The AU entrusted Rwanda to coordinate all FESPAD activities in a bid to promote peace culture through African dances.
  • It takes place in Rwanda every two years and pulls together the AU members on Rwanda’s invitation through African Union.


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