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ISINE Playing Cards edition


GAKONDO Playing Cards, the world’s first playing cards based on RWANDA’s cultural heritage and…

GAKONDO Playing Cards, the world’s first playing cards based on RWANDA’s
cultural heritage and prevailing monarchial legacy. They are more than just playing cards but
a requisite tribute to ancestry and legacy of past kings and queens of the kingdom of RWANDA.

In your hand, be it from professional poker games, cards collectors, cardist and just playing withfamily,
you shall be within reach of royalty. A crowning achievement of the GAKONDO playing cards
is its refined and informal design, bringing you an opportunity to learn more of RWANDA’s
feats and wisdom presented in educative excerpts from history.

The Naming of UMUSENGO and ISINE Editions.

The Kinyarwanda language doesn’t have basic terms for colour. Rather, most if not all,
colour terms are nouns of objects with a particular colour derived from existing said objects.

Cows, or to be more precise, cow names, fill out the majority of colour names that exist
in the Kinyarwanda language today. This is because cows are undoubtedly an impartial
pillar in the Rwandan culture. An instance tributing such a unique position in the culture
to cows alone, could be observed in what Rwandans considered to be the definition
and embodiment of wealth.

In the olden times, any working person aimed to amass all courage and effort into
presenting the fruit of their labour personified into a beautifully
created masterpiece – a cow.

Cows had more value than land itself. They were not only applied into what now has
been, for the most part, limited to dowry, but ceremonial rites in various institutions
of the kingdom. The more the cows a person had, the more renown and prestige
they possessed.

When it came to colours, the astonishment revealed itself in the diversity of cow coats (skins)
which, by right, merited the cows to own colour names themselves alone.

Colour terms referred originally to the colour of cows’ coat only.
But with time they later dissolved into the general naming of ‘colours.’

In our case, the naming of these deck editions drew inspiration and right
from cow names. Namely, UMUSENGO and ISINE cows.

umusengo /umuseengo/ noun

  1. a ‘brown with white spots’ cow




  1. a cow that is ‘greyish’ almost ‘blackish’ in colour.

// What other colour or cow names have you heard but are curious about their origins?

What other cow names can you list down? Share in the comments. //


Kimenyi, Alexandre. [?] . Cow Metaphors *

Kagame, Alexis. 1963. Les milices du Rwanda pré-colonial. Bruxelles: Mémoirs de l’Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, Classe des Sciences sociales et politiques. T. XXVIII, 3..
Kagame, Alexis. 1969. Les grands genres lyriques de l’Ancien Rwanda. Butare: Editions Universitaires du Rwanda.

Weight 0.1 kg