Skip to main content
Life Reflections

A fountain of Intore in full regalia? It’ll be the sensation of our time!

By October 14, 2022June 6th, 2023No Comments

October 14, 2022

And so it is with humans that when they’ve got used to what they first gawped at, they take it for granted and act like it’s always been there. When they see others gawking at what to them is some new marvel, they sneer and dismiss them as village bumpkins.

So was it with me, when recently I was straw-pulling at a thick homemade cocktail juice by the Imbuga City Walk side. I was the arrogant know-all, scoffing at those who goggled at their ‘new find’ when I should’ve known better. This walk has come a long way, under my watch.

Then I saw something new: giant raindrops overhanging the whole walk and not ‘intending’ to drop down! I swallowed my haughtiness and laughed at my own ‘bumpkinness’!

So, if you don’t know Imbuga City Walk, you are not alone. There are many who don’t know where it’s found. Yet, as residents, they think they know every spot of Kigali the way they know the inside of their ‘meanly-supplied’ pockets.

Imbuga City Walk was the first place in Rwanda to acquire the nomenclature “Car-Free Zone”.

At the time, for quite a while it was the same street as all others in Kigali and all wondered what was special about it. Why should vehicular movement be prohibited in this “Kigali Car-Free Zone”? Such a wasted shortcut, drivers grumbled loudly.

From ex-Ecole Belge to the small Centenary House (the first modern building to grace the place) roundabout, drivers had to make detours, where before they’d easily connect to any of the two places. Well, they sighed, we could as well get used to putting up with it.

Then out of the blue, to the surprise of everybody, workers started to fiercely dig up the place like they’d struck gold! But, instead of going deep, they started overlaying the area with soil and stones, in a haphazard way.

Soon enough, however, what appeared haphazard was swiftly taking shape – and good shape at that. A manicured garden appeared, lain with a stone footpath, the stones giving way for lawn in between steps. On another side appeared a stone cycling path, with bicycles available if needed.

In between, kiosks sprang up to please your palate. If you were here for other business from feeding your eyes and tummy, benches were fixed around for those who’d better take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.

The garden stretches from ex-Ecole Belge to a spot near Bank of Kigali, from where a wide, smooth paved foot-walking avenue takes over, to a spot near the small roundabout. This part also hosts exhibitions and entertainment occasions. 

A package of enjoyment for all ages has been ‘created’ out of what was a combat and death zone in 1994. And if that’s not the eighth Rwandan wonder, show me what is.

We’ve often told the story of this street (for the sake of the Johnnies-come-lately), and how it lived under the terror of robbing gangs, Karaningufu (cart-pushers), drug-pushers, glue-sniffers, the filthy lot. These didn’t think twice about knocking you down or dead if you didn’t heed their “Tsiiiiiii!” warning when in their way.

Now, our city fathers/mothers, knowing ours is a government that thinks on its feet, why don’t you surprise us with your own wonder of an idea, since Imbuga was government’s brainchild?

For instance, you can connect that Imbuga City Walk with the two roundabouts, even with the beauty of the lower, bigger one, and create some unequalled uniqueness out of it. Tall order, yes, but how many simple things has Rwanda made that proved to be out of this world?

I’ve seen a giant fountain in some country that drew tourists to it like bees to honey, because it could dance to any musical rhythm! Don’t go for ‘giant’. Go for uniquely Rwandan. Like a fountain that depicts Intore (for young men) and Umushayayo (for young ladies) dances, for example.

It’s quite a complex operation, true, but how many complex ‘impossibilities’ has Rwanda executed, to the surprise of many a national or foreigner? Wasn’t “Kwita Izina” a banal rite that applied only to human babies before it was turned into a magnet to the world’s “Who is Who”?

You can connect Imbuga City Walk, first with the smaller upper roundabout, then with the bigger roundabout below it. This alone will form a kind of flat ‘igisabo’ (big guard), with the smaller roundabout as the big, shorter neck. Imbuga City Walk will be the long, slender neck. The end-result will take the shape of those giant raindrops that are actually street lamps!

In the ‘belly’ of the ‘igisabo’, that’s where a fountain replacing the current one will be constructed to imitate Intore dance, complete with the graceful moves and ‘imigara’ (dance head gears), spear and shield replicas, topped (bottomed?) up with ‘amayugi’ (ankle bells) around the ankles!  Umushayayo dance is easier to ‘create’.

You’ll need an amphitheatre and flyovers around, of course, but it’ll be a worthy expense.

Because to see a fountain sending up water ‘Intore’ that will be pulling off those traditional dance strokes at night, with all the necessary light colouring, acha tu! It’ll be the sensation of our time!

Leave a Reply