Rubengera heritage site(Ibigabiro bya Rubengera)
Rubengera heritage site is located in Karongi district in Western Rwanda. In oral traditions, it is referred to as Ibigabiro bya Rubengera, meaning the state’s shrine. This is because there was a residence of King Kigeri IV Rwabugiri. Apart from hosting a royal palace, Rubengera was one of important cultural and economic centers of Rwanda. Its past cultural and economic significance is proved by being the unique place with the national record of hosting umuganura rite (First-Fruits festival) many times (7 times – in 1874, 1875, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1891, and 1892).
Umuganura was an annual event and the first national rite in order of importance. It was performed on both national and family level. On national level, different types of harvest from countrywide were presented to the king and displayed to the public.
On the family level, umuganura event gathered an extended family and neighbors under the chairmanship of its chief. It was an event during which people gathered and shared drinks and food; enjoyed their annual achievements, and planned for the following year. In other words, it was an important event during which Rwandans gathered and felt that they belong to one country and share a common culture. It promoted the national unity, the conviviality between the populace and leaders, parents and children, families and friends. Today umuganura is one of the Home Grown Solutions – culturally owned practices and is celebrated each year on the first Friday of August. Please click here for more information on umuganura.