It was partying, networking, wining and dining at the ‘I am Kigali’ street party in Kigali’s Car Free Zone Wednesday night. The free event was organized to coincide with the opening ceremony of the Youth Connekt Africa Summit that kicked off in Kigali earlier on Wednesday morning.
Over 2,500 delegates from across the African continent are currently attending the summit that seeks to showcase the potential of Africa’s youths and highlight available opportunities to them. The three day summit at the Kigali Convention Center closes on Friday July 21.
The I am Kigali street party drew a cosmopolitan crowd of young urban Kigalians, expats, tourists, as well as some of the foreign delegates attending the Youth Connekt Africa Summit.
Several local artists entertained the gathering through performances that ranged from music, poetry and dance. Performances came from the Urban Boyz, Deo Munyakazi, Mike Kayihura, Eric Onekey, Kinga Blues, Makumbi Sound, and rapper Angel Mutoni.
Also present at the concert was Philbert Nsengimana, the minister for Youth and ICT, who reminded the gathering that the purpose of Youth Connekt is to bring together young people from across the continent to discuss common challenges and available opportunities. The minister who had earlier attended the opening ceremony of the Youth Connekt Africa Summit was in a jovial mood, starting off the evening by interacting with different young people in the crowd.
He later emerged from the crowd and took to the stage, chanting “I am …”, as the excited crowd chorused “Kigali!”
“This is Kigali, and you are not dreaming. For me this is youth connect because young people are connecting here,” he said amidst elated cheers.
“You connect by shaking hands, you connect by smiles, by speaking in your different languages, and by listening to all these African beats and you connect by being together. We welcome everyone to Kigali and Kigali welcomes you as well. This is about Kigali, it’s about Africa but it’s also about the world.”
The Burundian Drummers, a percussion ensemble from Burundi came with a large number of drummers bearing long drums on their heads, pounding them and swaying rhythmically in the middle of the crowd.
But the show would not have been complete without the presence of some of the Youth Connekt Africa Summit delegates.
Towards the middle of the performances, shuttle vans full of the delegates started pulling up backstage, ushering in about one hundred of them. They immediately joined the dancing crowd and the party continued till 11:30 pm.