Rwandans observe ancient “Umuganura”, Agaciro fund announces big money

Some of the harvests displayed

Some of the harvests displayed

Millions of Rwandans took a day off work, to celebrate major cultural ritual of sharing agricultural harvests in an event popularly dubbed Umuganura.

The government announced this date as an official public holiday as a way of encouraging more citizen participation given the fact that the new generation is not really interested in this ancient tradition.

In Rwandan tradition, Umuganura “Harvest day” was one of the most important ceremonies performed by Rwandans at the beginning of every harvest season.

This event came second to the most important ceremony in the Rwandan kingdom; the coronation of the new king.

In early days, the essence of Umuganura was to thank God for the harvests and also ask for more blessing for the next season to ensure that the harvest is good.

Many Rwandans, especially millennials believe practice has lost meaning and belongs to the past but Rwanda’s Minister of Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu says it is still relevant.

“Umuganura today has broadened its meaning from formally being agro-based harvest to include achievements from other sectors that have contributed to the development of the country such as: health, education, ICT, sports, mining, infrastructure, culture, tourism etc.” Uwacu said.

She however said that some practices, like sharing local brew using the same straw have slowly been faded out because of the present health threats like contracting Ebola, which didn’t exist in the 3rd century when the practice started.

Epimaque Rwandenzi, cell leader in Ruyenzi, Runda Seector in Kamonyi district believes that the event should be upheld since it brings people together to celebrate their values.

“Some things have lost value but a country without communal practices is as good as nonexistent. We have to be innovative in this age. For example in our community, we utilized the day for exhibiting economic activities, resources and services” Rwandenzi said.

In a related development, the Agaciro (self-worth) development fund, has announced that the Umuganura day will mark the commencement of Dignity Month where Rwandans will spend time to contribute to the sustainability of their country.

Over Rwf27 billion have been collected in the fund and it has announced a net profit of Rwf1.4 billion.

The fund was conceptualized back in 2012 when donor partners suspended aid to the central African nation following UN Report implicating Rwanda in fueling the DR Congo by supporting then m23 rebels.

The fund recently came in handy after the UK arrested General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake , head of Rwanda’s Intelligence Services. His bail was set at one million pounds.

At National level, the Umuganura cerebrations were held in Nyagatare district, Eastern Province, and at village level, residents gathered in the their localities.

The day was also observed by Rwandans in the diaspora, in conjunction with Rwanda diplomatic missions worldwide.