Traditional arts mostly consist of crafts, and especially functional ones. Many of their arts are similar to other cultures in this area. Weaving is one of the key crafts and is seen in woven baskets and bowls. The weavers will often weave in designs into whatever it is they’re creating using different colored fibers.
Pottery and wood carving are also common and used in a number of ways from utensils to tools. They’re well known for their carvings of figurines. These arts, which continue today, give a connection with their past.
One strange art is a cow dung art called imigongo. The dung is mixed with different kinds of soils and natural materials to give it different colors and then painted into geometric shapes. Typically, the colors are black, grey, white, and red, although sometimes you’ll see a yellowish-beige color every now and then.
Most of the literature of Rwanda is written in either Kinyarwanda or in French. For much of their history, their stories were told orally. And of the works that were written down, it was divided into two categories: formal and non-formal. Formal works included official documents, religious texts, etc. Non-formal works were basically popular stories.
A few of the major authors from Rwanda include Alexis Kagame (a historian who also covered poetry and mythology), Benjamin Sehene (novelist, mostly about the Genocide), Scholastique Mukasonga (famous for her novel Our Lady of the Nile), and Saverio Naigiki (known for his autobiography and his novel L’Optimiste).
Up next: music and dance