The inaugural Seka Fest comedy festival got off on the right footing in Kigali, on a weekend that was packed with various entertainment options.
The festival evolved out of Seka Live Comedy, a comedy forum that first debuted in Kigali in March 2016. Both are the brainchild of local comedian and radio personality Arthur Nkusi.
Nigerian funnyman Clint Da Drunk headlined the two-day festival that kicked off on March 24th.
Dubbed “Comedy on the Bus”, the first day of the festival was dedicated to budding local comedians. A total of 25 local comedians got to entertain comedy lovers on buses that plied select town routes. These were Kimironko-town route, Remera-town route, Gikondo-town route, Kicukiro-town route and Kacyiru-town.
Two weeks to the festival, organisers organised Seka Comedy auditions, from which 17 budding comedians were selected to participate in the festival. It is these that entertained on the buses.
After ‘Comedy on the Bus’, the action moved to People Bar and Night Club in Kacyiru, for a comedy open mic, where revellers tried their hand at comedy. Entrance was free.
The festival’s closing night on March 25 was a big gamble by organisers, but one that eventually paid off. Would people turn up in large numbers to fill up the Virunga Hall at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, the biggest at the venue, with over 3,500 seating capacity? Usually the Virunga Hall is reserved for expo purposes.
In the adjacent Akagera Hall, the Mashariki African Film Festival was hosting guests to its opening gala. At the same time, the Kigali Serena Hotel was hosting a choral performance. Just a day before, Tanzanian musician Harmonize had staged a concert at the same venue.
In spite of all this, the show managed to attract a big crowd that brought back memories of the sold out Imbaraga album launch by local musical duo Charly na Nina on December 1, last year.
Day two was designated for the foreign acts, with Clint Da Drunk and Tanzanian musician Mr Nice as the main acts.
“I didn’t want to bring a musician on the show. In the beginning I wanted to bring Anne Kansiime but we didn’t finalise everything because we also want to do a kids’ festival with her so it didn’t make sense to bring her now,” explained Arthur Nkusi on the choice of Mr Nice.
“I wanted not just a musician but a memory. Somebody that would make me cry and remind me of who I used to be. Then we realised that the biggest guy that hit in Rwanda at one time was Mr Nice.”
Singing legend Mr. Nice delivered an energetic performance. Courtesy photos
Budding comedians Joshua, Patrick and Merci were the first on stage, in that order. Joshua performs with the Com Factory, Merci was scouted by Arthur Nkusi from a school in Rwamagana, while Patrick was the best from the 17 budding comedians selected from the Seka Comedy auditions.
The crowd started trickling in as early as 3pm, when sound checks were still underway.
At 6pm prompt, Joshua hit the stage, and it was a roller coaster of comedy until 10pm when curtains fell on the stage.
“The Seka Fest first edition was a success at all levels from auditions of young talents, to the comedy on the bus to the last day of the event for international comedians.
The Seka events brand is a well thought out event that we always plan ahead on every detail. We want it to be a platform that will be exemplary to all other events in being creative and bringing good content and developing talents of young upcoming comedians,” revealed Nice Budandi, the operations manager of Arthur Nation.
According to Nkusi, Seka Fest will happen every year in March, on the same dates.
Meanwhile, the next Seka Live Comedy show has been pushed from June to September this year:
“Basket Mouth (Nigerian comedian) will be doing his one-man show in Rwanda in June, and Arthur Nation will present it. That’s why we pushed Seka Live to September,” Nkusi said.
Arthur Nkusi, founder of Seka Fest, entertains passengers during the Comedy on the Bus, on March 24.
Seka Fest’s first season last weekend was a major success.