Ubumuntu Arts Festival starts a new series, goes virtual

Hope Azeda is the founder and manager of Ubumuntu Arts Festival. File

Ubumuntu Arts Festival, for the next three months, is hosting a weekly online series of stories and conversations to light up the gloom that has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubbed "100 Stories of Home", the initiative will run from April to July, 2020, serving as a platform to share stories of home, restoration and hope. 

 

Hope Azeda, founder and manager of Ubumuntu Arts Festival said the initiative came up as an "immediate response" to the most intimate downside of the pandemic: loss.

 

"As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, lives are changing drastically. People are bombarded with dire disheartening stories of death, job loss, crumbling economies and an uncertain future."

 

The slated period is equally symbolic to Rwanda.

Azeda, a renowned playwright explained that the 100 Stories of Home series is a "way to reach out to a world of people in isolation struggling through fear, loneliness, anxiety; feelings that our home country, Rwanda, went through during the 100 days of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi."

Through diverse artists from around the world, the series will be a time to reflect on what home means; and how hope can be found from the most gruesome of circumstances, Azeda said.

"It’s a time of anxiety, stress and trauma threatening people's emotional and mental health. Now more than ever art is needed to bring hope to a troubled and frightened world."

The festival will present stories from Mondays through Fridays on different topics which reflect hope in a troubled world through its social media channels, including YouTube.

Additionally, in consideration of the current global situation, the Ubumuntu Arts Festival held every year in July at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Amphitheatre will, this year, be held virtually, between 17th and 19th of July.

"The festival will reach out to an uncertain world in what we hope will be the aftermath of the worst pandemic seen in many generations," Azeda confirmed.

Since its maiden staging in 2015, the festival has been an artistic celebration of human bonds. While curving the status of art beyond the mere aspect of entertainment, Ubumuntu has become Africa’s largest performance arts and centers around the theme of humanity.

In the past, it has garnered artist participation from more than 50 countries and thousands of spectators from across the globe. Through the captivating dance, themed drama and soothing music, humanity is immersed in a live experience  of Ubumuntu (being human).

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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