This dilapidated hut stretches back to Rwanda’s ancient Kingdom rule
Residents living near Makwaza hill located in Mukindo sector of Gisagara district in the South of Rwanda, suggest that the mountain be reinstated as a historic touristic site, like it was in the past.
During the reign of King Ndahiro II Cyamatare (1576 – 1600), many cultural events were held at this hill.
Events hosted on Makwaza hill aimed at putting the king to sleep and awakening him as well. These events were held even when the king was absent, selected beautiful girls sang in traditional concerts for the King, as they cleaned and purified milk, in wooden containers.
These practices didn’t die out as soon as Rwanda’s Monarchy ceased, but grew even stronger during the years that followed.
The place used to be decorated during the swearing in of the presidents of Rwanda including Junela Habyarimana and Gregoire Kayibanda which constantly attracted tourists to Makwanza hill.
“There was a pub for tourists here. There were many traditional art pieces about the ancient times like the bed of the king, traditional milk containers, baskets”, narrates Charles Yambabariye, an 83 year-old resident.
The old man’s wish is the same as that of other residents. They want the old glory of the Mountain to be restored with its once held historic value.
“Youth should get the opportunity to know about Makwaza’s great history,” says Yambabariye.
Like many men his age, Yambabariye, worked at Makwaza hill-based palace, formerly for the traditional chiefs.
Speaking at a press conference in late 2012, François Ndikumana, an official in Rwanda’s Ministry of Sports and Culture, said the significance and history of Makwaza hill was important and that the place would be added to the list of historic tourism sites to be renovated.
Meanwhile, authorities in Gisagara district say there’s been no decision so far about Makwaza hill.
“Makwaza hill needs to get infrastructure first, then we can think of making it a history touristic site,” said Léandre Karekezi, Mayor of Gisagara district.
Today, save for the dilapidated traditional hut that is thought to have been the king’s palace, all that remains of the history of Makwaza hill are in ruins.