Rwanda’s Tradition Comes to Life on UGHE’s Butaro Campus

In the northern province of Rwanda, six buildings sit against the rich tapestry of Rwanda’s terraced hills. Butaro District Hospital can be seen across the valley and, on a clear day, Mt. Muhabura is visible in the distance. The picturesque setting is home to UGHE, where Rwanda’s diverse landscapes and deep-rooted traditions meet state-of-the-art classrooms.

When walking through the campus, visitors are encompassed by geometric designs painted on the outside walls of several buildings. The rich patterns are known as imigongo, a traditional Rwandan art form made of cow dung. Often displayed on walls, pottery, and wooden canvas, the patterns date back to the 18th century, where Prince Kakira commissioned imigongo as interior decoration for his home. Following the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, a women’s cooperative revived the craft in an effort to preserve culture and promote reconciliation.

More than just an art form, many imigongo patterns also hold special meaning. For UGHE’s campus, designers selected motifs that reflect the University’s mission and celebrate cultural themes of unity and strength.

Click through the gallery below to learn more about the imigongo patterns painted throughout UGHE’s Butaro home.


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Cluster 1 of faculty and staff housing is painted with the Ingobe pattern which means target or excellence. During the kingdom era of Rwanda, Ingobe was a type of arrow that was used for hunting. Akin to the force that propels an arrow forward, residents of this cluster will ensure students of UGHE reach their full leadership potential.