When it clocked midnight on Saturday, excitement reverberated across Kigali as Rwandans ushered in the New Year.
Revellers thronged several spots across the city where End of Year festivities were organised, including display of fireworks.
The first edition of Kigali Countdown Village Party was held at the MTN Roundabout, between Kigali Heights and Kigali Convention Centre, on December 31.
The event attracted different people including music lovers and those who, particularly came to celebrate the previous year, 2016. Despite the event having started hours to the scheduled time, people partied till morning.
The event featured music performances from different disk jockeys in the country and beyond, including DJ Chop, DJ Cliff, DJ Bisoso and DJ Infinity, among others. However, the main highlight of the event was Mun G’s performance.
The Ugandan rapper took to the stage at exactly 1:45 am, shortly after fireworks lit up the skies of iconic Kigali Convention Centre.
He was welcomed with wild cheers as people had waited for him in anticipation.
The singer opened his act with his popular song Born a Fighter, which seemed familiar in the revellers, who sung along with him. He then sent greetings to the revellers, and gave some props to the organisers.
Mun G, real name Emmanuel Mungi Matovu, performed some of his biggest hits like Sala Puleesa, Byayanga,Vawo Awo, and Nkoye, and people never disappointed the singer throughout his performance which lasted 40 minutes.
President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeanette Kagame were also present to start the year with Rwandans and visitors who turned up for the show and to view the fireworks. The Head of State waved to the excited crowd before leaving as they chanted “Mzee Wacu.”
“It is a surreal moment to celebrate the beginning of the New Year with the President and his family. I just feel great that I was part of this,” said Nina Umuringa, one of the revellers.
Across at Radisson Blu Hotel at Kigali Convention Centre, rhumba maestro Koffi Olomide entertained guests to a calm yet ecstatic performance befitting the venue.
The Selfie star with his band and gyrating queen dancers treated the audience to soothing Rumba and Lingala ballads to crown the year. The singer was expected to perform at Kigali Serena Hotel on Sunday, in a concert earlier unannounced.
Elsewhere in the city
While people gathered at the Kigali Village Count Down Party, others flocked a series of events around the city. At the newly inaugurated Chic Building, regional and international deejays were playing under the Roc Events-organised show.
Dubbed ROC NYE Party, the show attracted hundreds of people from around the city, and DJ Dollar from Senegal and DJ Omzee based in Brussels got people on their feet.
At Hotel Villa Portofino in Nyarutarama, Rwandan US-based artiste, The Ben, was having a “Meet and Greet” party where he met his fans, took pictures and made a surprise performance at midnight.
No journalists were allowed to take pictures, but the event itself was a success as it attracted record crowd.
Some of the country’s leading deejays like DJ Miller and DJ Toxxyk helped people to end a year in style. Different clubs were packed to capacity and every hang out in Kigali was busy, with revellers keen on beginning 2017 in a fun mood.
No serious incidents were reported as thousands of Rwandans celebrated the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017.