Banda has been supporting the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation since its inception in 2011 and as the project prepares for launch later this month, we look back at the journey and the techniques used to bring new hope to a nation.
The RCSF was founded in 2011 with the aim of building a national cricket stadium for Rwanda and uniting the country through the medium of sport.
The distinctive arched pavilion was designed by Light Earth Designs, a company based in Cambridge, UK and Kigali, Rwanda who are committed to designing, engineering and implementing sustainable and locally made building solutions. The signature undulations are reminiscent of the fall of a bouncing ball and the spectator seating is carved out of the earth to mimic the terraced farms on the steep Kigali Hills which overlook the stadium.
“The development was conceived as an opportunity to empower and engage local men and women in need of work, skills and income though the use of local materials and high labour-intensive construction techniques” says Tim Hall of Light Earth Designs.
“As Rwanda is landlocked, limited in its local resources and with scarce access to building materials we focussed on ‘home grown’ building technologies made from locally available material. The tiles were made from the soil at the site, the granite is all locally quarried and the bricks were made from clays in and around Kigali.”
“We dispatched an international team to train the local workforce on tile manufacture, cutting and assembly of the plywood arches and wooden guide work, vault construction and all other aspects of the build.”
The vaults are built using a technique called Catalan Vaulting used in the eponymous region, where layers of tiles are used to create a strong but light 3-dimensional arch, similar to an eggshell. It’s a vernacular technique but the principals are catching on. “It will be a benchmark in responsible and sustainable development – and will provide the people of Rwanda with a unique and valuable asset” says Tim.
The launch week runs from 23rd – 29th October 2017 with a series of events culminating in the official launch of the stadium on 28th October with a celebrity T20 match between a Rwanda XI led by RCSF patron Brian Lara vs World XI led by RCSF patron Michael Vaughan.
Other events include drinks at the British High Commission in Kigali, cricket coaching at Mahama refugee camp and a ‘Cricket Builds Hope’ dinner.
“Our ultimate ambition is reconciliation through sport,” says Alby Shale who is project director of the RCSF. “We know that it is not something that is achievable in a day or a year, but cricket is an amazing medium that brings people together and teaches you to work as a team”
Banda wishes Alby Shale and the whole RCSF team warmest wishes for the launch.
For more information on the RCSF and its sister charity Cricket Builds Hope please visit www.rcsf.org.uk