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Back to my roots

Back to my roots

In his 1943 paper titled Theory of Human Motivation, Abraham Maslow documented his findings on the topic of universal needs of society. The bottom-up classification, illustrated in the said paper, coined the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The widely discussed theorem recognizes shelter as a basic need.

Over the centuries, housing has evolved to suit the advanced needs of modern societies but the traditional Rwandan house will remain a powerful symbol of cultural significance.

Our forefathers boasted advanced construction skills. The Xs and Os of their construction work were meticulously implemented. There is meaning attached to each piece of material used. Their dimensions and measurements adhere to important cultural norms. Every stage is executed with military precision.

Earlier this year, I had a traditional construction experience at Kumbya Kivu Life Ecolodge, located in Kanjongo Sector, Nyamasheke District. After spending a peaceful night in a wooden nest, I had an opportunity to fulfil my life-long dream: Learning to build the traditional way.

Ecolodges, built the traditional way, are springing up across the country. This trend is reviving the past and putting history into perspective. The new traditional huts come with modern amenities like showers, electricity and Wi-Fi. When I slept in one, I felt like Mwami in the 19th Century royal court.

The traditional Rwandan house is re-emerging in contemporary architecture too. The designer of the Kigali Convention Center’s dome was inspired by the famed traditional house.

The author is a travel enthusiast on a tour of all 30 districts and 416 sectors of Rwanda. Follow his awe-inspiring journey on Twitter @GeoExposure.

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