Rwandans are set to celebrate Christmas this Sunday as the country enters the first unrestricted festive season in two years, with many getting in a celebratory mood with cautious optimism.
Against all odds in this year, Rwandans are looking to celebrate regardless of inflation that has led to an increase in commodity prices at the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Regardless, the City of Kigali is exhibiting all signs of a celebratory mode, decked in shining lights and glittering boulevards.
The capital Kigali is lit up with Christmas decorations and lighting, signaling a festive mood as shoppers crowd shopping malls and markets for last minute purchases.
Walking around the streets of Kigali, lights can be seen all over Kigali main streets, roundabouts, public and commercial areas as Rwanda prepares to celebrate a Merry Christmas and a New Year’s in style.
The decorations complement the clean and green Kigali environment thriving with flowers and beautiful plants seen along the streets of Kigali.
These decorations can be seen starting from Remera Gisementi roundabout, Sonatubes, Kacyiru and the Kigali Convention Centre (KCC); and in Kigali Central Business District (CBD) specifically at the City roundabout, Kigali City Council offices, the CBD Car-free zone, and of course on bank buildings like the Bank of Kigali, the I&M Bank plus Insurance buildings such as Cogebanque and the Liquid telecom kiosk in the heart of the city.
Decoration lights are also illuminating some of the city’s high rise buildings, entertainment spots, office spaces, bars and other business facilities as the country heads for a long Christmas weekend, which will include Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
But for some, like Ahmed Murindabigwi, there isn’t much to celebrate with the ongoing cash crunch, which has led to him getting stuck with Christmas goods he stocked.
“We are not seeing a lot of buyers. There isn’t much money but we are optimistic to end the year on a high,” the downtown-based businessman said.
However, for others like Liliane Mugwaneza, there is a lot to be optimistic about, particularly the freedom to celebrate with family and friends, unlike the past two Christmases, regardless of the economic hardships.
“We should first of all be happy that we will freely celebrate this year and that we are recovering from the impact of the pandemic. That alone is enough reason to celebrate,” Mugwaneza said, pointing out that the worst has been overcome
City of Kigali officials have also cautioned holiday makers to be careful with keeping the city roads green and clean.
“Happy Holidays and remember to Keep Kigali Clean and Green,” the city authorities said on Twitter and earlier on, the City Mayor Pudence Rubingisa urged residents to celebrate but in a responsible way to avoid ending the year on a bad note.
The festive season will also be ushered in with promotion of new games in Kigali city’s famous Car-Free Day sporting activities which include- Mini golfing, E-road biking, Street Basketball 3×3 and road tennis- which were launched during the last months of this year 2022.
And no better place for some holiday shopping than at the Kigali Special Shopping Festival happening at the Gikondo Expo Grounds. The Expo shopping 2022 is the first of its kind to be organized during the festive season. Normally the annual Expo is held in the month of August.
Exhibitors at the first edition of the shopping festival expo, have expressed optimism that they can attract many festive season buyers, by lowering prices for products they need.
At the expo, you can find quality Made-In-Rwanda products and enjoy fun activities such as horse riding and many more.
The expo, which opened doors at Expo Ground in Gikondo from December 8 with over 400 local and foreign exhibitors will run through December 26 (Boxing Day).
Concerts and Hang outs to Hook Up
After the flop of the long awaited “Diamond Platnumz” show dubbed the ‘One People Concert’ in Kigali, Rwandans still have a chance to hook up with other concerts and shows around the corner.
Straight from Uganda, Rwandan born DJ Alisha will be performing in Kigali to console many who lost out on the Diamond Platnumz show.
Alisha will spin at Boogaloo on December 24, 2022 featuring local DJs- DJ Marnaud, DJ Tyga, DJ Karim, DJ Max and DJ Higa and DJ Rusam.
DJ Alisha is one of the most popular girls in Uganda where she is often invited to major concerts and the latest artists are invited to the country.
For gospel lovers, one notable show will be of the gospel songster sister- Dorcas & Vestine who will also release their first album on December 24, 2022, fans of worship and praise music can look forward to the concert and album launch at Camp Kigali.
Park Inn by Radisson, one of the high end hotels in Kigali City and has thought of children by preparing an event to help them enjoy the festive season of Christmas. This event called ‘Kid’s special Christmas Edition’ is scheduled for December 24, 2022.
Radisson Blu and Convention Center will also host a Christmas brunch this Sunday
Other hospitality facilities hosting Christmas events include Chillax lounge- located at Century Park Nyarutarama and Atelier du Vin located on the KN 3 Rd in the heart of Kigali.
Due to the high inflation some residents of the city of Kigali say that they will not celebrate Christmas and the New Year as before because of the level of prices which have also been hiked during the festive season.
Normally, before Christmas, Rwandans are accustomed to shopping, especially buying new clothes for their children and also buying different foods to mark the festive season.
The National Bureau of Statistics recently announced that in the month of November 2022, market prices across Rwanda rose by 33.8%.
These figures show that the combined prices (both urban and rural) rose at this rate from a 31% increase in October 2022.
Some of the reasons for the price increase in the month of November 2022, are the prices of food and soft drinks which increased by 64.5% and the prices of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels which increased by 14.6%.