After visiting Bumbogo, I proceeded to the southern tip of Lake Muhazi via Gikomero and Rutunga. This was the first time I reached Muhazi without stepping out of the boundaries of Gasabo. The last time I went to the same spot, I passed through Nyarugenge, Rulindo and Gicumbi. I traveled from one part of Gasabo to another part of the same district via three neighboring districts.
Muhazi is a flooded valley lake spanning the distance of about fifty kilometers, forming many off shoots along the way. The Muhazi Belt covers parts of Kayonza, Gatsibo, Rwamagana, Gicumbi and Gasabo.
The Kimironko - Rutunga road is an unpaved murram spanning the distance of about thirty kilometers. The panorama of its surrounding landscape is breathtaking. From Rutunga, I took a detour to Kingfish Resort for a thrilling jet skiing experience.
On my way to the lake, I had a brief stopover in Gikomero Sector. My interactions with members of the local community were limited due to covid’s precautionary measures. Nevertheless, I was able to observe a few things that put history into perspective.
Gasabo is one of the three districts that form the City of Kigali. However, there are parts of this district that are found outside the city. Gikomero is one of them. Bumbogo and Gikomero areas boast a rich historical and cultural heritage. The genesis of Rwanda’s territorial expansion can be traced in this part of the country.
In the 19th Century, King Kigeli IV Rwabugiri waged conquest wars of biblical proportions and defended his territory against foreign invasion. After wedding Queen Kanjogera at his Bumbogo residence in 1862, Rwabugiri led one of the most decorated feasts of muganura at Rutunga. Traditionally, muganura is an annual thanksgiving holiday observed to celebrate the harvest and reaffirm the people’s commitment to labor. Muganura is also credited for enhancing unity and patriotism, among other things.
While riding past the commercial street of Gikomero, I saw a familiar architectural design. This design is common across East Africa. Muhawenimana Innocent, a resident of Gikomero, believes the design of the shops I saw was influenced by Asian immigrants.
In the 1930s, a score of Arab traders entered Rwanda via the coast of East Africa. Most of them settled in Kigali, former Astrida and Rwamagana. According to Muhawenimana, the design of their shops set a new trend across the region. "A number of other common practices in the retail sector are also attributed to them." He told me.