The week of Fespad ended on Saturday evening with a closing ceremony and concerts by Magic System from the Ivory Coast and many other artists who included famous local musicians, the likes of Rafiki Mazimpaka, a.k.a Choga Style and Miss JoJo..
Wheeling through Kigali, one can’t help, but to admit that the Fespad has concluded its one week of entertainment and business dealing in Rwanda.
For those who were lucky to attend physically and witness showcases, the music and show left many, if not all, yearning for the sheer glamour and splendor of cultural dances and other exquisite performances the unique festival manifests.
Throughout the week, Rwandans were blazed with music, dance and art from different professional musicians. Over forty thousand participants and 25 countries, with various cultures, were in the country of a thousand hills during the Pan African Dance Festival (Fespad).
The festival that was officially opened in Kigali on July 27, at Kigali Independent University (ULK),attracted different professional and celebrated musicians who included Jamaican American-based female Hip hop aces Brick and Lace, the Kings of zouk, Oliver N’Goma and Slai singing along with East Africa’s most celebrated RnB and Hip hop singers, Redsan and Chameleon, with many other local musicians, like Jean Paul Samputu and Muyongo.
The festival week which was opened with fireworks, was attended by the First Lady Madam Jeannette Kagame, the Minister of Culture and Sport, Joseph Habineza and the Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza, who officially opened the festival on behalf of the President.
The week was characterized by livelily amusement activities, getting bored was not an option. The dances were expected to be more African but their artistic dancing styles and music lyrics seemed more westernized.
Fespad is a cultural event set up in 1998 during the 67th session of African Union Ministers of Culture Council. It’s a biennial event organised by the Rwandan Ministry of Sports and Culture under the patronage of the African Union.
The 2008 edition of Fespad came at the right time when Rwanda was celebrating a double anniversary; the centenary of the capital city Kigali and the 10th anniversary of Fespad.
In Kigali’s capital, the Great Lakes Dance Platform and a workshop dedicated to enrich professional dancers were introduced. Also, two conferences of ‘Arts and Business’ and ‘Imprints and Memory’ were hosted.
‘K-Dance’, a TV show on dance, and organising trainings for art technicians and photographers were also introduced in the centre.
Through the week of Fespad, the cities of Kigali, Butare and Gisenyi celebrated traditional rhythms, marveling music and dances from all over Africa and beyond.
Performers came all the way from Gabon, Egypt, Namibia, Guinea, Kenya, Burkina Faso, China and Japan.
The festival also attracted Rwandans from different Diasporas, the Rwandan National Ballet also performed to its finest.
Many people have admitted that Rwandans were satisfied with the show because all performers exploited well their talents.
“We have to confess that we have enjoyed ourselves much and I can imagine the rest of the days will be boring as the music week has ended,” said Jackson Kabera, a member of the audience.