31 Jul

Upon arrival, I was introduced to my host, Maître Rutinywa Kageyo. Kageyo is the co-author of a book titled Rwanda: Pastoral Evolution and the Place of Inyambo. He owns many cows, including a good number of inyambo, the long-horned species featured prominently in his book. 

Preambled with an enticing foreword written by President Paul Kagame, his book is a detailed account of the evolution of cattle rearing and the nobility of cows in the Rwandan culture. It is highly recommended for those interested in Rwanda's rich heritage.  

Before Kageyo became a farmer and a strong proponent of the preservation of culture, he was a karate coach. His first name has something to do with his karate background. Maître is a French word that means master. Addressing trainers as masters is common in karate. The black belt holder spoke fondly of the late Maître Sayinzoga Jean. "Sayinzoga groomed me and helped me to hone my karate and life skills in the 1970s. He instilled discipline and work ethic into my life." Kageyo told me. 

Kageyo owns many cows, including the long-horned inyambo

Maître and I discussed a variety of topics over milk. Our conversation revolved around karate, patriotism, culture and the fruits of liberation. The retired soldier fought the liberation struggle in the 1990s. 

As I listened to Kageyo's story, his wife kept refilling my cup. She is like those aunties who wouldn't stop feeding you. Under their care, your opinion of what is enough is completely disregarded. What could be your weight-loss success story in the city is utter nonsense to them.

"How many cows do you have?" That was my last question. "We don’t disclose the number of cows we have. All I can say is that I own a few of them." That was a familiar response. While in Nyagatare, I encountered farmers who, contrary to the sizes of their flocks, claimed to own just a few cows. 

The hill on which Ikiraro k’Inyambo is found used to be the location of Radio Muhabura during the aforementioned war. Plans are underway to recreate the studio and preserve this site of historical significance. In the meantime, the farm offers unparalleled cultural experiences and a lot of milk.

A lot of milk was consumed during my conversation with Kageyo