The city of Kigali was first discovered in 1907 by German explorer Richard Kandt. Kandt was appointed as the country’s first resident with centrally located Kigali as the location for his headquarters. Kandt’s house was the first European-styled house in the city, which remained in use as the Kandt House Museum of Natural History. Kandt also opened the first public schools in Kigali educating Tutsi students. During World War I, Belgium took control over Rwanda and Burundi and much of the administration took place in Usumbura (today Bujumbura), thus Kigali remained relatively small through its colonial era, and only upon independence from Belgian rule, the city has been Rwanda’s economic, cultural, and transport hub. During the Rwandan Civil War, Rwanda’s president was killed near Kigali and tensions arose ending in the genocide of thousands of Tutsi and moderate Hutu. Since the war and genocide, the city has experienced rapid population growth, buildings that were heavily damaged have been demolished, and much of the city rebuilt. The last Saturday of each month in the country is umuganda, a morning of mandatory community service where people are expected to carry out community tasks such as cleaning streets or building homes for vulnerable people. Recently, the Kigali Cultural Village was established to revive the Rwandan Culture and give it a place in modern life by offering a dedicated space for local artisans and vendors to exhibit and trade their goods.
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