The local creative economy has got yet another boost, following the recent opening of The Root House in Kacyiru, a City of Kigali suburb.
The house is located next to the SOS Children’s Villages head office on the road to the Kigali Golf Course in Nyarutarama, The Root House is a creative space curved out of a large middle class residential house.
It is a volunteer-driven social enterprise and community hub, complete with a cozy in-house cafeteria, a shared working space with internet connectivity, and frequently hosts music, creativity and technology-related activities.
The Root House was formed out of a partnership between the Root Foundation and Collectiva, a Danish charitable organization based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Root Foundation is a local not-for-profit organization that helps vulnerable children go to school and nurture their artistic talents.
These were soon joined by Kirenga Karengera Eric (DJ Eric Soul), the founder and creative director of AGROGROOV Ltd, a local creative company.
“We (AFROGROOV) were searching for a possibility to own a creative space in Kigali to operate our media, events and technology operations, and thereby contribute to the development of a self-sustaining and conducive environment to support, nurture and incubate a community for creative innovation,” he explained:
“In this context, the two parties (the founders of Root Foundation and AFROGROOV) merged to create a partnership, hence The Root House,” he added.
According to Patrick Kiruhura, co-founder of Root Foundation, the idea for The Root House was born out of the need to generate income for the Root Foundation, the parent company;
“Through the partnership between Root Foundation and the Danish organisation Collectiva, we opened Root Café, which is a source of income to Root Foundation. Self sustainability is very important to local organizations that are serving the community so they won’t need to rely on donations and sponsorship,” he explained.
Eric Soul corroborates Kiruhura’s sentiments: “In the last decade, the need for various non-governmental organisations to search for other financing possibilities besides relying on donations has increased due to the rise in the number of charitable organizations around the globe, thereby decreasing the probability of receiving the required amount of funds,” he noted.
“Hence, non-governmental organisations started to think about other financing possibilities outside the boundaries of donations. In 2017, the founders of Root Foundation started to search for other financing options besides relying on donations.”
Kiruhura further reveals that the facility is run in a collaborative and organised manner, with all revenue generated ploughed back into the Root Foundation’s various initiatives aimed at uplifting at-risk youth in Kigali and its immediate environs.
“Older children under Root Foundation’s programme can receive relevant job training at the café, as Kigali is currently growing very fast in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Other café volunteers may include students, recent graduates, overseas volunteers, and anyone else in Kigali with a love for coffee, culture and community endeavours.”
Ever since it opened its doors at the beginning of June this year, the Root House has hosted a slew of fun, interactive and community-focused events.
These include the weekly Ubuntu Soul Sessions, an after-party for the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in July, and a slew of musical and poetic sessions with local performers like Eric 1Key, Deo Munyakazi and Angel Mutoni.
People going to The Root House are usually in search of good company, an artsy and creative environment, good coffee, music, and a yummy barbecue and live grill come weekends.
The latest event to be held at the Root House was a live music concert in tribute to iconic South African reggae musician Lucky Dube. The concert, that was held on Saturday October 21, was headlined by reggae musician Adjobalove and the Jah Image Band, all hailing from Burundi.
At the Ubuntu Soul Sessions, the house is open for anybody to assume the role of DJ for an entire evening.
Meanwhile, on Saturdays, the Root House hosts a gathering of people from different walks of life for a chilled evening hangout.