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The ruharage is a drum that only recently appeared in Rwanda. A very similar instrument, possibly slightly older than the ruharage itself, is the imparage or ‘zebra’, so-called because the skin of the drum comes from the zebra. The ruharage, on the other hand, is usually covered with goatskin at both ends. The top and bottom skins are linked by means of leather strips (see ingoma) that are laced in a simple X pattern. The instrument consists of a metal drum shell 35-45 cm high, with a diameter of 20 cm.

There are several ways of carrying the instrument while it is being played: loose under the left arm, using a strap over the left shoulder or using a short strap as a handgrip in the left hand. In contrast with other drums, the ruharage is played with only one stick.

Originally the ruharage was solely part of the amakondera ensemble, but nowadays it also accompanies the imbyino dances of young girls. Simpler rhythms are played than in the case of the amakondera, duplicating the hand clapping of the dancers.

For more information consult the following publications edited by the RMCA: