The creative industry in Rwanda has grown vastly over the last couple of years and has, despite the hindrance that is the COVID-19 pandemic, been able to pull itself up by the bootstraps. Performing arts shows like the annual Our Past Initiative event during the commemoration week and Ubumuntu Arts Festival were reduced to a virtual experience in the pandemic era but were finally able to make a resounding comeback last year with wholesome in person experiences that felt a lot like a breath of fresh air. But this isn’t the only aspect of the creative industry that picked up where they left off. Comedy shows made a triumphant return with Seka Live shows back on a monthly basis and Comedy Knights following suit, comedy. Theatre/performing arts In an interview with The New Times, Mashirika performing arts founder and creative director Hope Azeda shared that the company is currently drawing up a strategic three year plan targeting local and international markets alike, thus a Mashirika performance on a national event shouldn’t be surprising. Azeda shared that in addition to fan favorites Malaika Uwamahoro and Delah Dube, new talents will grace the stage. She also hinted at a concert dubbed “Music is Humanity” scheduled to take place right before the annual Ubumuntu Arts Festival as one of the highlights of the year ahead. Industry promoters Africa in Colors founder Raoul Rugamba revealed that the company’s goal remains to facilitate a space where artists and decision makers in the creative industry get to network, exchange ideas and collaborate on projects. Africa in Colors intends to make an annual occasion of the festival slated to take place this September. More countries are expected to be in attendance than the preceding festival, and this ought to influence the creative space for the better, according to Raoul Rugamba. Film Eric Kabera, one of the key players of the Rwandan Film Industry and founder of Kwetu Film institute told The New Times about how he’s been working to create a bridge between creators based in Africa and America through the African renaissance collective. Furthermore, Kabera gave some insight into current film projects which entail “The Woman in Me” a documentary film depicting the women empowerment program in Rwanda that will make its premiere in March 2023. One of the current projects that was also shared is “Love on a motto” a romantic comedy set in Kigali and Los Angeles, California that is set to begin production later this year. The romantic comedy is intends to share a new perceptive of Rwanda with audiences, highlighting the current Rwandan lifestyle including the nightlife, education and employment/economy aspects of the country. The Rwandan government has also played a significant role in supporting the industry through the Rwanda Film Festival that creates space for audio visual storytellers to develop their craft and make good use of their skills. Comedy Quoting President Paul Kagame, comedian Babu Joe is of the view that Rwandan comedians ought to be creating a product that taps into the global stage. “It’s about time Rwanda gets its very own Trevor Noah to put it on the map” he said. The comedian, real name John Naifa Jr Muyenzi, also thinks that more women should join the comedy community in Rwanda to even the numbers and comedians in general should strive to do better and appeal to broader audiences. Babu is a member of the Comedy Knights, a collective of comedians that has been home to Rwanda’s best and brightest, and Babu will be hosting a one man show this February. Fashion Hot on the fashion scene in 2023 is Rwanda Clothing, and creative director Joselyne Umutoniwase has shared some insight into their pursuits for the year starting with a safari collection (ideal for wildlife tourism) will be launching this February. In line with the concurrent theme to penetrate the global market, Rwanda clothing plans to launch a Rwandan made lingerie line over the summer then later work closely with European markets and upcoming designers for expansion.