The seventh edition of the Pan African Dance Festival (FESPAD), that kicked-off in Kigali at Amahoro National Stadium, on Saturday, has not only attracted local and regional talent, but also an interesting blend of international artistes.
Rwanda, has been organizing the event since 1998, after a meeting of Ministers of the former OAU recognized the country’s efforts to promote unity and reconciliation following the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
The biannual event has since been a successful platform for showcasing cultural diversity of Rwanda, the region and of recent, the world at large.
Indeed, FESPAD has greatly helped to promote the country’s achievements. Visitors are always exposed to a new Rwanda, a country with hope that is long detached from the genocidal stereotypes.
And, for the wide range of artistes who perform at the long week festival, when they do return to their respective countries, they carry along a different story about Rwanda - one of hope, rebirth, peace, progress and prosperity.
Rwanda, can then take advantage of FESPAD to promote cultural tourism. At the opening on Saturday, there was abundance of Rwandan talent. Last year, the country’s National Ballet (Urukerereza), emerged winner of the global cultural competition.
This is just one example of how such events can take the country places and bring pride to the nation. After all, cultural tourism is a niche waiting to be exploited.