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Population, Culture

epic songs, basketry, drummers, chants, wood carving

The richness of Rwandan culture is apparent in the wide range of fine crafts. These include pottery, basketry, painting, jewelry, wood carving, metalwork, and the making of gourd containers. All ethnic groups cherish oral traditions of proverbs, songs, and chants. The Tutsi, in particular, are known for their epic songs and dynastic poetry chronicling the origins of the Tutsi ruling class. The verse, strongly flavored with traditional mythology, has preserved Rwandan history orally through generations of preliterate peoples. For many years, the tall, splendidly adorned all-male Tutsi intore dancers, characterized by coordinated drilling dances reflecting the warrior tradition of the Tutsi, and the tambourinaires (drummers), were attractions for travelers. Rwanda has produced a number of writers, including Alexis Kagame and J. Saverio Naigiziki, both of whom have written primarily in French. French is the main literary language in Rwanda because the educated elite of the country are educated largely in French. Kagameís and Naigizikiís main themes include religion and the conflict between tradition and modernity.

Article key phrases:

epic songs, basketry, drummers, chants, wood carving, pottery, metalwork, modernity, verse, travelers, jewelry, origins, painting, conflict, religion, attractions, ethnic groups, country, French, years


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