Historier om en utrolig genfødsel

12. marts 2024

Hør om Rwandas fantastiske genfødsel i denne episode af Radiovagabond.
Her er mange overraskende ting, du sikkert ikke vidste om dette lille afrikanske land.

Welcome to another adventure in Africa

Welcome to another adventure. Today, we’re setting off on an extraordinary journey to a country that defies expectations at every turn. Prepare yourself for a ride filled with breath-taking landscapes to fascinating cultural revelations, as we uncover the untold stories and remarkable transformations of Rwanda.

Rwanda is Full of Surprises

We’re zooming into a small country in the heart of Africa. Don’t let its size fool you; it’s packed with experiences that will blow you away. It’s called the land of a thousand hills for a reason – but those rolling hills are just the start of what makes this place so special.

Rwanda is a country that’s made a stunning turnaround from its troubled past. This journey isn’t just about moving from a difficult chapter to a brighter future; it’s about a country that’s completely reinvented itself, a real underdog story of a nation that’s come out stronger.

Rwanda’s capital Kigali is known as the cleanest city on the continent, and it’s not hard to see why. I’ve only been to one other big city as clean as this one, and that was Tokyo. The streets here are spotless, which is a clear sign of the hard work and pride of its people. More on that later.

But Rwanda offers more than just pretty views and clean sidewalks. It’s also incredibly safe. We’re talking about the sixth safest country in the world and by far the safest in Africa for solo travellers*. It even ranks higher than my own country, Denmark when it comes to safety for solo travellers! This is also something we’ll get back to in this episode.

Source for the safety ranking:

Usebounce, a luggage storage app, created the ranking by combining a crime index and a safety index to evaluate where solo travellers would feel safest, using data from Numbeo.

The memory of the 1994 genocide is still a part of this country’s history, but it’s not the whole story. This place has done more than just recover – it’s become a standout example of peace and security in Africa.

Before we buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of discovery let’s have a few facts about The Land of a Thousand Hills



Nestled in the heart of Africa, Rwanda is a landlocked country bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  

Size and Population

Rwanda might be small in size, covering approximately 27,000 square kilometers (10,400 Square Miles), a bit bigger than West Virginia and slightly smaller than Belgium that occupied them for years. It has a population of around 12.6 million people.  


Rwanda is mostly Christian, with a majority of the population being Catholic and Protestants. But there’s also a presence of Muslims and indigenous beliefs. 

Official Languages

In Rwanda, you’ll hear a mix of languages, with Kinyarwanda [Kinya-rwanda], French, English, and Swahili being the main ones. English really took off after Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in 2009. It’s widely used, especially among the young and professionals. So, you’ll find a good number of people who can chat to you in English, even if there’s a bit of accent. Steph and I will dive into that in a minute. 

The Flag

The flag of Rwanda is a symbol of hope and progress. It has three horizontal bands in the colours of sky blue, yellow, and green. The blue represents peace and hope for a brighter future, the yellow symbolizes the country’s economic potential, and the green stands for the prosperity of its land. In the upper right corner of their flag, there’s a golden sun that represents knowledge and progress. 

Famous Proverbs

Rwandan sayings really show the wisdom of the place. There’s this one that goes something like, “God hangs out everywhere during the day but chooses to sleep in Rwanda.” It’s their way of saying their country’s just stunningly beautiful and peaceful.   

And another one that’s all about the value of putting in a good day’s work: “He who works well, has God’s support.” It’s like saying, if you do your job well, you’ll have God on your side. It’s their nod to how much they respect hard work and doing things right. 


Kigali, the country’s capital, is often dubbed as the cleanest city on the continent.  The government, led by President Paul Kagame, really wanted to clean up the nation after the tough times it went through.  Rwanda, especially its capital Kigali, is super clean, and it’s all thanks to the hard work and teamwork of the government and the people. This didn’t just happen in a snap. It’s been a big team effort. 

The Land of a Thousand Hills:

A Remarkable Rebirth

Deep in the heart of Africa lies Rwanda, a country that’s like a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Surrounded by breath-taking landscapes and brimming with a culture that’s as rich as it is diverse, Rwanda’s story is one of resilience and revival. Despite facing challenges in its history, this small nation has emerged as a shining example of perseverance and progress. From the orderly streets of Kigali, its bustling capital, to the innovative initiatives that are shaping its future, Rwanda beckons us to embark on a journey of exploration and enlightenment. So, pack your bags and prepare to be amazed as we uncover the wonders of this remarkable land.


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Beyond Stereotypes:

Rwanda’s Surprising Realities

Let’s peel back the layers and uncover the real Rwanda, shall we? Forget what you might have heard because this country is full of surprises that will make you rethink everything you thought you knew. First off, did you know that Rwanda is ranked as the sixth safest country in the whole world? Yes, you heard that right. So, if you’re a solo traveller or just looking for a worry-free adventure, Rwanda’s got your back. And let’s talk about cleanliness – the streets of Kigali, the capital city, are so clean they put other cities to shame. But here’s the kicker: it’s not just about appearances. It’s a real testament to the unity and dedication of the Rwandan people.

By now, I’ve already shared a few things about Rwanda that you probably didn’t know. When we don’t know much about all the countries in the world, you might be one of the people that thought that this little Central African country was a dangerous place. You might be thinking:

“Hmmm Rwanda, isn’t that where they kill people with machetes?”. Or at least “It must be a lot more dangerous than my home country?”

And that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s more likely much safer than your country.


Crime Rate

Rwanda is often noted for its low crime rate, especially when it comes to violent crimes. The streets of Kigali and other towns are generally safe, and you’ll often see people walking around at night without much worry. That said, like in any country, petty crimes like pickpocketing or small thefts can occur, especially in crowded areas. However, overall, the crime rate is relatively low compared to many other countries.


The feeling of safety in Rwanda is one of the country’s strong points. After the turmoil of the past, the government placed a high priority on security. There’s a visible police presence, and community policing is taken seriously. The concept of “neighbourhood watch” is strong, and communities often work closely with local authorities to maintain safety. This approach has been quite effective in preventing crime and ensuring that residents and visitors alike feel safe.


On the corruption front, Rwanda has a relatively good track record, especially in comparison
to some other countries in the region. The government has taken a hard stance against corruption, with various measures in place to combat it. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index often ranks Rwanda as one of the least corrupt countries in Africa. But it’s worth noting that while high-level corruption is less common, more everyday forms of corruption can still pose challenges and are often harder to root out entirely.



Kigali, the country’s capital, is often dubbed as the cleanest city on the continent. The government, led by President Paul Kagame, really wanted to clean up the nation after the tough times it went through. Rwanda, especially its capital Kigali, is super clean, and it’s all thanks to the hard work and teamwork of the government and the people. This didn’t just happen in a snap. It’s been a big team effort.


Building Community, One Clean-up at a Time

A cornerstone of Rwanda’s cleanliness is the national initiative known as Umuganda, meaning ‘coming together in common purpose.’ This community workday is mandatory for all citizens aged 18 to 65, rich and poor, and takes place on the last Saturday of every month. It’s like a big neighbourhood clean-up party. They clean streets, fix up public places, and do lots of other helpful stuff.

Umuganda is not just about cleaning; it’s about everyone working together and feeling good about their community. It’s said that even the President rolls up his sleeves and helps out! Rwanda has become a real example of how teamwork can make your surroundings not just cleaner, but also a nicer place for everyone to live.

Kids also learn about keeping things tidy right from school. They’re taught why it’s important to keep the environment clean and how littering is bad news for everyone. The rules about keeping things clean are also pretty strict, and if you litter, you might have to pay a fine.

Leading the Charge

Against Plastic Pollution

Rwanda’s environmental ethos extends beyond its borders, with a ground-breaking ban on plastic bags enacted in 2008. They made a bold move and said “nope” to plastic bags. Yep, you heard right – they banned them altogether. It’s not just about keeping Rwanda clean; it’s about setting an example for the whole world. They’re big on teaching people why it’s important to look after the environment and making sure everyone sticks to the rules.

It’s not just about not using plastic bags within the country; they even go as far as to stop them at the borders. So, if you’re traveling to Rwanda, you should be prepared to leave your plastic bags behind. At points of entry like airports and land borders, they actually check luggage for plastic bags and may confiscate them if found. And if you’re caught with a plastic bag, you might have to pay a fine.

Strong Leadership

But is it Free and Fair?

Their President, Paul Kagame has been at the helm of Rwanda’s transformation since the end of the genocide in 1994, serving first as Vice President and then as President from 2000. He’s won multiple elections, and is running again at the general elections to be held in July, 2024. Here he’s running for a historic fourth term.

Under Kagame’s watch, Rwanda has seen impressive development and growth. He’s known for his strong, hands-on leadership style, which has been both praised for bringing stability and criticized for being overly controlling. The political space in Rwanda is tight, with Kagame keeping a firm grip on power.

Technically, Rwanda holds elections, and they do have multiple political parties. But observers outside Rwanda often question how free and fair these elections are, pointing out that there’s not much room for opposition against Kagame.

So, Kagame is holding a tight rope to his power, but still, many believe that after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda needed a strong leader. Someone to rebuild and heal. Kagame’s approach has brought security and unity, safety, clean streets, and a country without plastic bags. But it’s also meant limited political freedom. So, it’s a complex picture, and while Kagame’s leadership has driven Rwanda’s progress, it’s also shaped a political landscape that leaves little room for dissent.

More to come:

Unveiling Rwanda’s Untold Stories

As we wave goodbye to Rwanda for now, there’s still plenty more to uncover on our adventure. In the next episode, we’re diving deep into Rwanda’s past, facing the tragic events of the 1994 genocide with respect and thoughtfulness. Join us as we honour the memory of those affected and celebrate Rwanda’s unwavering strength and spirit. Stay tuned for more stories next week on The Radio Vagabond.

As we wrap up, let’s remember Rwanda’s incredible journey – a tale of overcoming tough times with courage and hope. Until our paths cross again, keep that adventurous spirit alive, keep exploring, and keep soaking up new experiences.

My name is Palle Bo, and this is The Radio Vagabond, I gotta keep moving. See you. 


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