*1976, Rwanda

- grown in Africa and Europe
- currently living in Berlin


The Buddy Bear aims to artistically shed light on contemporary Rwanda, more than a quarter century after the genocide of the Tutsi in April 1994.
The central element here is the tree of life on the front of the bear.
The tree draws its strength from the roots and ancestors, just as the country of Rwanda has paid attention to tradition and culture in the reconstruction of the country - represented by the traditional patterns. Rwanda wants to integrate tradition and carry or combine it with modernity, innovation, glocal awareness, and the young generation of the country into the future.
The tree further bears a small selection of successful imbuto (= 'fruits' in the local language Kinyarwanda), which mark the successful reconstruction of the country after the genocide.

Among the themes presented in the form of the imbuto are:

  • Nature and environmental protection: sustainable or nature-friendly tourism and animal protection (protection of mountain gorillas, reintroduction of the Big Five); legal ban on plastic bags
  • Biodiversity: e.g. 242 orchid species; bird species diversity, different types of natural parks (savannah, jungle, volcanic jungle)
  • Promotion of tradition, e.g. culture and dance, but also to find local solutions, e.g. modernization of the traditional Rwandan legal system Gacaca to convict offenders with the aim of reconciliation
  • Sports: e.g. co-organization of the African NBA (basketball) and World Cycling Championship
  • Development of a modern, internationally relevant infrastructure for education, sports, events and for the completion of sustainable cities (e.g. Green City Kigali Project).
  • Gender equality: Strengthening the role of women in leadership positions, e.g., 61% women in parliament.
  • Peacebuilding: After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, one of the most contributing African countries to UN peace operations
  • Education promotion: African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is based in Rwanda; top university Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has a second campus in Rwanda.
  • Innovation hub with global impact: world's first country to use drones for civilian purposes; electric mobility solutions with VW; Rwandan space program, only African smartphone manufacturer (Mara Phone)
  • Global and international networking through promotion of information and communication technology (e.g. one laptop per child initiative), international air connections and establishment of local airline RwandAir

The head of the bear
Golden patterns and a silver flame decorate the head of the bear.
The flame on the forehead is the Rwandan symbol/logo of the annual commemoration (KWIBUKA) of the genocide of the Tutsi in April 1994, indicating the country's culture of remembrance and reconciliation.
The golden patterns likewise indicate the conscious confrontation with the past and the decision not to hide these experiences, but to transform them in a constructive way.

Back, paws and flanks of the bear
Imigongo are traditional paintings characterized by open geometric patterns, not terminated at the edges, which are painted with natural colors. The design indicates openness, the welcoming culture, willingness to network and the preservation of individuality or sense of tradition. Imigongo are still made today and enjoy great popularity in Rwanda.

The main colors
he predominant colors indicate, on the one hand, the meaning of the country's flag - with green for prosperity thanks to sustainability, yellow for economic development, blue for security and peace - and, on the other hand, the colors used traditional crafts - crimson, black, white, ocher and gray. The gold represents the country's decision to constructively transform the country in the post-genocide reconstruction.


Sponsor: Botschaft der Republik Ruanda