A total of 19 theater and stage productions from across the globe have been lined up for this year’s edition of the Ubumuntu Arts Festival, according to Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, the organisers.
In its 4th year running, the three-day festival opens at the Kigali Genocide Memorial amphitheater on July 13 and closes on July 15.
Like previous editions, this year will see performance troupes from across the African continent, Europe, Asia and America share a stage in highlighting the critical role of the arts in Rwanda’s post-Genocide dispensation.
The festival is hosted in July, at the end of the 100 days of Genocide commemoration to help carry the recurring message of Kwibuka (to remember).
Some of the countries that will take part in this year’s festival are; Rwanda, the host, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, UK, Belgium, Iraq, Egypt, Canada, Poland, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.
According to Hope Azeda, the founder and creative director of Mashirika, the festival organisers, Ubumuntu Arts Festival was created to help Rwandan communities to unite, and international audiences to understand the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi through stage and theater productions addressing the theme of humanity.
“The world over, art has established a reputation as an effective channel for addressing social problems. Here in Rwanda, art played a critical role in dealing with the country’s immense post-Genocide challenges; we saw perpetrators giving truthful testimonies, while victims forgave perpetrators,” she explained.
She added: “The word Ubumuntu can be defined as ‘being human’. This festival aims at creating an avenue where people from different walks of life can come together and speak to each other in the language of art. As Desmond Tutu said; ‘My humanity is bound together in yours, for we can only be human together’. It is those profound words that have been the inspiration behind the festival slogan –‘I am because you are, you are because I am: we are human together.”
The festival came to life in 2015, after Azeda submitted its idea to the African Leadership Project as her leadership project proposal.
Festival activities include but are not limited to; performances, workshops, panel discussions, and Genocide memorial site visits.
Thought Curfew – Sri Lanka and UK
Can You Hear Me Now – Rwanda and UK
Too Early For Birds – Kenya
Soul Seekers – Iraq and Belgium
La Negrophile –USA
Punctuation – Nigeria
Love in the Time of Revolution – South Africa and UK
The Can: A Story About Friendship – Sweden
My Life Matters – Rwanda
The Voice of the Voiceless – DR Congo
Arts Revolution – Rwanda
The Key – Zimbabwe
Does Money Buy Happiness? – Rwanda
Iragi – Burundi
Rewolta – Poland
The Wet Umbrella –Rwanda
Strings – Uganda
If I Were –Egypt
Century Song – Canada