Rwanda’s capital is often described as a city that sleeps, rather than one that doesn’t. Rwandans are, by nature, more reserved than Kenyans, or other Africans. Loud music isn’t tolerated after 8pm and bars tend to close early. Some may call it boring, but Kigali’s residents embrace the city’s quiet calm. Yet, the oldest part of Kigali defies this stereotype.
In the southwest corner of the city in the multi-cultural neighbourhood of Nyamirambo you’ll experience a history and a vibe difficult to find anywhere else. Home to a mixed population, including much of the city’s working class and Muslim population, as well as bars, boutiques and hair salons, the area is an interesting juxtaposition of cultures.
At Nyamirambo’s heart is the Women’s Centre (NWC). The group began in 2007, with 18 women who came together to support each other, discussing issues like health, family, education and unemployment. It has since expanded to include a sewing cooperative and provides practical training and skills for disadvantaged women.
The NWC has also evolved to tap tourism as a revenue stream. They employ locals to lead tours, providing them with an income, while offering tourists an insider’s view of a proud neighbourhood that has repeatedly resisted redevelopment and modernization.
Different aspects of the area illustrate the diversity that makes Nyamirambo special, and the NWC tour weaves a trail from the spiritual soul of the historic Green Mosque to Nyamirambo’s creative hubs. These are a few of the highlights.