Did You Know?

The Twa are easily distinguished as the pygmy people who are descendants of the Rwanda’s earliest inhabitants, but fewer differences exist between the Hutu and Tutsi who share one rich culture.

In comparison to her neighbours, Rwanda has a limited ethnic diversity with only 3 major ethnic groups; the Twa/Batwa, the Hutus and the Tutsis. The Twa are easily distinguished as the pygmy people who are descendants of the Rwanda’s earliest inhabitants, but fewer differences exist between the Hutu and Tutsi who share one rich culture. The Kingdom of Rwanda emerged in the mid-eighteenth century led by a Tutsi King called a ‘Mwami’ who wielded centralized power over all three peoples, extending into territories that are now part of Uganda.

Indeed, contemporary Rwandan culture mirrors that of the Banyamulenge and the Bafumbira in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda respectively. Historically, the 3 groups are distinguished as cattle herders (Tutsi), farmers (Hutu) and people of the forest (Batwa). A Bantu language, Kinyarwanda is the official language that is spoken almost universally throughout Rwanda, but some sections of the population speak French and many who returned home from exile after 1994 also speak English. In Rwanda, ancient traditions of honour and hospitality are the cornerstone of society and a look at Rwandan culture unveils a proud and unique people that welcome and share with guests. Music and dance is all but indispensible in the every day lives of Rwandans and whatever corner of the country you visit, you can count on hearing the reverberations of the mighty Rwandan drums, and seeing dancers gracefully swing arms in the air as they sway to the beat.

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