Justice Caravan, the aptly named travelling stage drama by the Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, climaxed with a closing performance in Gicumbi District on Friday. Hundreds of locals thronged the Gaseke site in Mutete Sector, the venue for the performance, which marked the end of a campaign that kicked off on June 13.
In the process, the caravan covered the six districts of Burera, Gicumbi, Ngororero, Rutsiro, Nyabihu, and Nyarugenge.
By the time it wound up, the caravan had staged 36 community based theater shows in the six districts within three months.
The caravan is an initiative of RCN Justice and Democratie in partnership with the Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company. The project aimed at Strengthening Proximity Justice in Rwanda (SPJR) through building capacity among justice sector actors like Abunzi committees, building the capacity of Community Service Organizations (CSOs), and creating public awareness on basic rights, key laws, and the functioning of the justice system.
The first show on June 13 took place on Kirambo site in Rusarabuye Sector of Burera District in Northern Province. In all, a total of 36 performances were staged at different locations in the six districts of Nyarugenge, Nyabihu, Gicumbi, Rutsiro, Ngororero, and Burera.
In Gicumbi, the week-long caravan kicked off on Friday, August 10, with the last show on August 17.
Minister Busingye addresses the crowd during the Justice Caravan tour in Gicumbi Nyabihu District. All photos/Courtesy.
The performances passed key messages on justice, gender based violence, and promotion of family values.
In Nyabihu District, the masses were sensitised about their basic human rights and the laws that guarantee these rights, with a special focus on Gender Based Violence. Here the caravan was joined by the Minister for Justice, Johnson Busingye, and Swedish Ambassador to Rwanda, Jenny Ohlsson.
Some of Mashirika’s most popular community theater actors were at hand to enthrall their nationwide legion of fans. Xavier Bahati, in the Justice Caravan play, acts as Kamari, a violent and abusive husband to his wife Suzana (acted by Chantal Kayizerwa). Suzana is not legally married to Kamari and so leaves in perpetual fear of losing her marriage.
Angelique Mumarashavu acts as Solange, a side woman to Kamari, while Emmanuel Bihoyiki is a Person with Disability that just joined Mashirika during the Justice Caravan. He acts as Gahirima, Kamari’s friend. Gahirima lends money to Kamari with the intention of getting interest on it, although this is illegal. The burden of paying back this money is partly responsible for Kamari’s violence toward his wife.
Kamali wants to sell off a sack of potatoes to clear his debts and also support his concubine Solange, a move that his wife attempts to block. Kamali wants to take advantage of the fact that they are not legally married to make unilateral decisions.
With involvement from local authorities, Kamari’s sins finally catch up with him and he is arrested. His battered wife, however, takes the initiative to ask authorities to give her husband a second chance to see if he could change his ways. Kamari does not disappoint. He vows to embark on a new path of reconciliation with his wife and children.