A cultural night, featuring performances from different countries, will flag off this year’s edition of the annual Ubumuntu Arts festival. Created by the Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company in 2015, this year’s edition takes from July 13-15, at the Kigali Genocide Memorial amphitheater. This year’s edition curates performances under the theme: “Art and the Path to Resilience.” Ubumuntu features artists, performing troupes and audiences from across the globe, using the medium of art to communicate messages of peace, humanity and reconciliation. Last year, the festival introduced a cultural evening as part of its pre-events, and at which members of the public were able to catch a glimpse of some of the performances lined up at the festival. It took place at the rooftop of the Kigali Heights commercial complex in Kimihurura. This year, the event has been dubbed Ikaze Night Party, and will be held on at the Kigali Cultural Village on July 12, a day to the festival. “Ikaze Night Party is a cultural event that will be a groundbreaking fusion to celebrate compatibility of cultures and talents from around the world, giving a glimpse of the talent-filled performances scheduled for the festival,” revealed Hope Azeda, founder and Creative Director of Mashirika, and curator of Ubumuntu Arts Festival. “It is also organised to keep the festival free and open for all. The funds raised will be used for logistics, accommodation, and other activities before, during, and after the festival,” she further revealed. The main performance at the Ikaze Night Party will be headlined by American pop musician Alexander Star, who has been credited for using his talent to create songs that espouse messages of peace and hope. One of his most popular songs, This Is My Era, is an anthem for a movement that inspires communities around the world to become agents of change. “I’m excited to come to Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills. I’ve heard sad and incredible stories about the country and I’m ready to explore it and learn more about this incredible example of national resilience,” revealed Star in an email interview: “I hope to entertain, engage, and inspire!” Star also disclosed that he will be making a new theme song for the festival alongside other talented artists from around the world. “I was invited to compose a new theme song for the festival. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to hear the new song. I will be working with kids from Rwanda’s Umubano School, Andy Bumuntu, Grace Dublin, and Gerda Igiraneza.” he said. Other performances at the Ikaze Night Party will come from Hilde Cannoodt (UK/Belgium), The Kings (Uganda), Andy Bumuntu, Deo Munyakazi and the National Ballet –Urukerereza. A total of 23 theater productions (local and international) will be staged at this year’s festival.