The first time part of the group visited Rwanda, was during a cultural exchange and theatrical presentation called, Random stories of Kauzi, which they performed in October, last year. After the experience, the artistes decided it was best to explore what opportunities they might have as artists in the East African region.
Now, the group, that is affiliated to Anika, an art based initiative that uses art to engage in conversations aimed at influencing policies and the Evolution Art Hub, a network of leaders from diverse professional backgrounds, using arts and leadership to bring about a positive social change, are in Rwanda for a series of shows.
Anika members pose for a group photo.Sam Ngendahimana.
Some of the shows include, the living room sessions, a tour by Shikkiey, real name Faith Shikanga, which she intends to use to interact better with her audience about her form of art and also grow a fan base in Rwanda.
“With the living room sessions, I wanted something really intimate and as I thought about the concept I wanted a space where I can gather people, talk and find out about each other. With the living room, I felt like going into that space and performing for people in such an intimate space would allow me to connect beyond being on stage and we could all interact and feel safe,” Shikkiey said.
Doing one living room session, however, did not make sense since it could only accommodate a limited number of people, which is why she decided it was best to have a tour of living room sessions, partnering with Kenyan vocalist, songwriter and guitarist, Nickson Agesa, and together they came up with a concept called mistake.
“Mistake is about people accusing other people being toxic to them but we never really acknowledge that the wrongs that we have done to ourselves. I wanted to take the step to acknowledge that part and talk about it in a very free manner and in a safe space and also acknowledge it together as a whole. For me personally it’s a transformative and healing journey which I wanted to do with other people,” she adds.
Shikkiey will be working with the rest of the team, Desmond Ogubi, Mercy Kalechea and Robbin Omeka to realise her dreams.
The first session will be held in Kabeza, a suburb of Kigali City, on June 28, and they will also perform at Spoken Word Rwanda on June 27.
The group will also be doing school tours around the country, talking about sexual reproductive rights, while incorporating art into their communication.
“Most of the time people use very hard terminologies but when we bring in art to it we make it very interesting for those who are listening,” Ogubi said.
Meanwhile, the group took time off their busy schedule and entertained The New Times staff in a short rhythmic poem, after the interview on June 24.