History of Imigongo/Amateka y’Imigongo

In the beginning of the 19th century,  Kakira, son of Kimenyi the King of Gisaka, lived in Kibungo Province (near the Rwanda-Tanzania border) and invented an art of embellishing the inside of houses to make them more attractive for living. He called the art “imigongo.”

Mu ntangiriro z’ikinyejana cya 19, Kakira umuhungu wa Kimenyi Umwami wa Gisaka, yabaga mu Ntara ya Kibungo (hafi y’umupaka w’U Rwanda –Tanzaniya) nyuma aza guhanga umwuga w’ubugeni wo gutaka mu mazu imbere mu rwego rwo kutagira meza birutaho, ubwo bugeni bwe abwita “imigongo”.

Now, several artist cooperatives have taken over the traditional art by making smaller embellishments on pieces of wood. One cooperative, Ikora Imigongo Kirehe, creates Imigongo daily at their shop in Kaziba Village, Kirehe District – the same area where Kakira first created the art.

Ubu, amakoperative menshi y’ubugeni yafashe ubwo bugeni bwo gutaka, maze bushyirwa ku duce tw’imbaho dutoya. Imwe muri ayo makoperative yitwa IKORA IMIGONGO KIREHE ubu irakorera iyo migongo umunsi ku munsi mu iduka ryayo riri mu Mudugudu wa Kaziba, Akarere ka Kirehe, mu Karere kamwe n’aho Kakira yakoreye imigongo bwa mbere.

Kakira used natural material to make his house designs – he used cow dung to form the structure of the house painting and created paints from soil, kaolin, sap and banana peels. Ikora Imigongo Kirehe carries on this tradition; every painting sold is created with natural materials (although some paint colors are store-bought.)

Kakira yakoreshaga ibikoresho bya gakondo mu rwego rwo gutaka neza inzu ye, agakoresha amase y’inka mu kubaka imigongo ku nzu, agakora amabara akoresheje ubutaka, ingwa, amazi y’ibiti, ibirere by’insina. IKORA IMIGONGO KIREHE yakoresheje ubwo buryo gakondo maze imigongo yose igurishwa iba ikoze mu buryo gakondo(nubwo amarangi akoreshwa amwe agurishwa).

In ancient times, the red color was prepared from natural soil. The white was made from kaolin. Black was made from the sap of an aloe plant, mixed with ash of banana peel and the fruit of a local plant. And the light orange color was created from clay soil.

Mu myaka yashize, irangi ry’umutuku ryakorwaga hifashishijwe ubutaka busanzwe, iry’umweru rigakorwa hakoreshejwe ingwa, iry’umukara rigakorwa mu mazi y’umugwegwe avanze n’ivu ry’ibirere n’imbuto z’ibiti bisanzwe, mu gihe cyo ibara rya oranje ryakorwaga mu butaka bw’ibumba.

Ikora Imigongo Kirehe is a cooperative of local farmers who also love to paint and create the traditional art of Imigongo. While several cooperatives around Rwanda sell Imigongo, there are not many artists who know how to make it. Ikora Imigongo Kirehe translates to “preserving culture,” and that is what they want to do with their art production.

IKORA IMIGONGO KIREHE ni Koperative y’abaturage bakunda gukora gutaka no gukora imigongo.Mu gihe hari amakoperative menshi mu gihugu acuruza imigongo, ni bake rwose bazi uburyo ikorwa. IKORA IMIGONGO KIREHE bisobanura”gusigasira umuco” ibyo nibyo bashatse gukora bakoresheje ibikomoko ku bugeni bwabo.

Before, the families of Ikora Imigongo Kirehe worked from their houses and did not have a workshop to sell or create the art. Today, they have a workshop in Kaziba Village, Kirehe District in the Eastern Province as well as a couple markets in different areas of Rwanda, including Azizi Life near Gitarama.

Mu minsi yasize, abagize IKORA IMIGONGO KIREHE bakoreraga mu ngo zabo kuko batagiraga aho gukorera no kugurishiriza ibyo bakora bose hamwe. Ubu rero bafunguye inzu yo gukoreramo mu Mudugudu wa Kaziba, Akarere ka Kirehe, Intara y’iburasirazuba kimwe n’uko bafite amasoko ahantu hatandukanye mu Rwanda, nka AZIZI Life hafi ya Gitarama (Muhanga).

The artists welcome any visitors to their shop and always have different Imigongo designs ready to sell. At the shop, you can also watch as they make the art and try it for yourself!

Aba banyabugeni baha ikaze bantu bose kandi igihe cyose baba bafite imigongo ikoze neza yagurwa ako kanya kandi ukaba ushobora no guhabwa ibisobanuro no kwerekerwa uko nawe wakwikorera umugongo.

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