What Rwanda is taking to JAMAFEST 2019

National Ballet Urukerereza during last year’s JAMAFEST. / Courtesy

Over 100 artistes, exhibitors and government officials from Rwanda are in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to take part in the regional arts and cultural extravaganza known as Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (JAMAFEST), scheduled for September 21 to 28, 2019.

This 5th edition of the festival will be under the theme: “Cultural diversity: A key driver to regional integration, economic growth, and promotion of tourism.”


Dr. James Vuningoma, the executive secretary of Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture (RALC), told The New Times that the objective of the festival is to promote regional socio-cultural integration through arts and culture, by providing a platform to showcase culture as a primary driver of regional integration.


“It also aims at fostering the economic development of the EAC through creating a market for cultural goods and services, as well as promote arts and culture as a tool of communication in branding the bloc,” he added.


The carnival will be held at Tanzania National Stadium, in the south of Dar es salaam, on Saturday. Rwanda will be represented in four categories; Private Sector Federation will showcase different Made in Rwanda products, which will include food processing, textile, and garments, ceramics, sculptures and paintings, jewelry, as well as traditional (indigenous) medicines. The Creative and Cultural Industry, (CCI) went with Inyundo Music School, national ballet Urukerereza, as well as the Rwanda Film Federation led by John Kwezi and Kwetu Film Institute. The communication department will be represented by Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), and Office of the Government Spokesperson (OGS), among others.

Rwanda Development Board will also attend the event, as the festival of this year quoted tourism as one of their objectives and that is also an advert for the ‘Visit Rwanda’ campaign. The government delegation will be led by John Ntigengwa, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Sports and Culture, and Dr. Niyomugabo Cyprien, Chairman of RALC, who will also be one of the festival panelists.  

Other highlights of the festival will include music, dance, comedy and drama performances that will be showcased by representatives from Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi, and the host Tanzania. Carnival marches, poetry, storytelling, and acrobatics are among the activities lined up for the festival.

During the exhibition, each country has 30 stands of exhibiting.

The first edition of JAMAFEST was held in February 2013 in Kigali, under the theme: “Fostering the East African Community Integration through Cultural Industries.”


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