RECTC to promote traditional blacksmithing
Birikano David has been a blacksmith for over 20 years. He goes to Kisoro and Kabale towns to buy scrap like car springs, poles and charcoal as raw materials for blacksmithing.
Bikirano uses poles to support his structure and charcoal as fuel. He recalls that initially, he used iron ore from Kabale and Kisoro but this mineral has increasingly become scarce as mining ndustries have been set up in the araes making local access difficult.
Speaking from his home, Bikirano was concerned about the lack of community interest in blacksmithing.
“The biggest challenge is that the community and young people have anegative mindset. They look at blacksmithing as hard and inferior job”.He said
The Tourism OfficerKisoro district Richard Munezero said that Mr. Bikirano and others with such skills have been identified to pass on the knowledge to other community members at the Rwerere Enterprise and Training Center (RECTC).
This, he said is part of the strategy to promote community tourism, market local products and promote conservation of the national parks among the communities surrounding the protected areas.
Bikirano has been able to support his family and send children to school through blacksmithing among other benefits.
“ The challenge is lack of tools and charcoal which is expensive but I have already bought a cow, trained my own son in this work and sometimes I give a panga in exchange for labour on a farm for four days”, He added and went on to say that:
“The demand for my products is high. I don’t take them to the market because by the time I finish, the products it is already booked. I sell a knife at shs.1,000, a hoe at shs.10,000 and a panga at shs. 10,000 because they are very strong and durable than those on the market,” He said.
As a by the way activity, Birikano said that he spends some time weaving mats and baskets which fetch him about shs. 30,000-40,000 each.
The Tourism Officer also said that the other targeted activity for promotion under the center is the local brew refered to as Umusururu. This is a local porridge fermented for 7 days from brown sorghum.