The History Of Rwandan Pottery and Ceramics
Pottery, which predates the Neolithic period, is one of the oldest human inventions. Ceramic objects are created by shaping a clay body into the desired shape and heating it to high temperatures (600–1600 °C) in a bonfire, pit, or kiln, which causes reactions that result in permanent changes, such as increasing the object’s strength and rigidity. Much pottery is purely functional, but some can also be considered ceramic art.
It was thought to have been practiced around 2,500 years ago by the “Batwa,” or “Twa,” one of the three tribes that people identified with before the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, but historians strongly disagree. While the first ceramics were made by “urewe,” a culture that developed and spread in and around the Lake Victoria region of Africa during the African Iron Age,
Pottery was mostly done by women, who would then teach their children, and the practice is still carried on today. Potters and their families mostly lived near wetlands, which provided easy access to clay, the main ingredient in ceramics.
One of the challenges that traditional potters are currently facing is competition from substitute materials. Another difficulty is that their children have called it quits! Children hate pottery and refuse to participate in it.