AfricaMuseum transfers over 4000 sound recordings to Rwanda
On 28 October 2021, the AfricaMuseum transferred over 4000 digitised sound recordings of Rwandan musical traditions from its collections to the Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy. This transfer is one of the projects carried out in the framework of the SHARE programme. This cooperation programme between Belgium and Rwanda aims to share heritage and build capacity in conservation and collection management with museums and research institutes.
Rémy Jadinon (AfricaMuseum) ; Bert Versmessen, ambassador of Belgium in Rwanda ; Robert Masozera, Directeur General of the Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy.
An important musical heritage
The audio files transferred to Rwanda were recorded in Rwanda between the 1950s and 1990s. They come with a title, the place of recording and the ritual function of the music. These recordings therefore constitute a collection of great patrimonial and scientific value.
The digitised recordings have been transferred to the Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy. They will be archived at the Ethnographic Museum in the city of Huye, where they will be accessible to the public through social media and promoted in the museum's new permanent exhibition project.
Part of a wider collaboration
This collaborative project between Belgium and Rwanda dates back to 2018, during a bilateral conference organised by the government of Rwanda. The SHARE programme was born out of this conference.
Within the framework of SHARE and at the request of the Rwandan government, three Belgian institutions - the AfricaMuseum, the State Archives of Belgium and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - are preparing the inventory and digitisation of archives that concern Rwanda. Like the sound recordings, the digitised Rwandan archives kept in Belgium will be transferred to Rwanda.
The SHARE programme also includes the renovation and decolonisation of the Huye Ethnographic Museum, a musicology project and linguistical research on the Kinyarwanda language.
Scheduled for the period 2019-2023, the SHARE programme is funded by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD).
The musicological part of the SHARE project aims to co-create the sound archives of tomorrow through collaborations with contemporary artists interpreting musical traditions of Rwanda. The SHARE team recorded musical performances of Deo Munykazi who plays the inanga zither to accompany his lyrics about daily life, the Urugangazi dance troupe from the town of Huye who performed popular dance styles as well as royal dances, and Manuel Ndayizenga, an indigidi fiddle player who plays folk songs in the street of the city of Kigali: