September is here,

and the buzz around Ubumuntu 2016 has quieted down a bit. We are taking the opportunity in to look back and repass some of our favorite memories. Some of the artists we saw, voices we heard, scenes we experienced still continue to pop up in our talks and inspire us as we go. In this edition we are featuring two Rwandan plays. "Ma Petite Colline" by Ishyo Arts Center and "Africa's Hope" by Mashirika. 

But we're not only reminicening, we're already thinking ahead. The date for Ubumuntu Arts Festival 2017 has been set. We're looking forward to a third edition of our festival from July 14th to 16th 2017.

Stay tuned!

Watch the performance of Ma Petite Colline by Ishyo Arts Center

Ma Petite Colline

As we realized at the fist edition of Ubumuntu Arts Festival in 2015, children have a great interest in theater and the performing arts. That was the reason why we dedicated a full day of this year's edition to them. One of the performances we invited was "Ma Petite Colline" by Ishyo Arts center. 

Ma Petite Colline is a journey of sound and rhythm in Africa and more specifically in Rwanda, the country of a thousand hills. It explores the complex causes of conflict but also a praise of life, respect and cultural diversity through the friendship between two children from different backgrounds. The piece presents games, Rwandan traditional dances, and some of the issues of children vis-à-vis the recent events in Rwanda.

Umuhire Eliane, one of the actors says in an interview with Moses Opobo that you can read here: “It’s something that’s unique and that is still lacking in Rwanda. We have a huge performance industry for adults –like Hip Hop, painting … we have everything for adults but nothing for children.”

She continues: “It’s more difficult to play for kids because kids don’t lie. They will never pretend that you’re good. They can’t clap if they’ve not enjoyed the performance. If you try to fool them they will tell you off as a liar. If they are bored they will walk away or start to talk or to sing. You have to work harder and be true to yourself and to forget the adult in you and become a child completely. Kids need theater even more than adults, and not just theater but all other art forms because art is something that moulds you from a tender age and ignites your imagination and creativity.”

See Mashirika's performance of Africa's Hope

Mashirika's Africa's Hope comes of Age

                                                      by Moses Opobo for the NewTimes, July 18th 2016

In a way, the story of the Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company is the story of Africa’s Hope, its flagship theatre production. This play was Mashirika’s first acid test on the big stage, gracing the 10th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi at the Amahoro National Stadium in April 2004. At the time, Mashirika theatre troupe had been contracted by the government to come up with a befitting theatre production for the commemoration.

Africa’s Hope addresses the subject of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi through the eyes of a child. Lasting 100 minutes, to symbolize the 100 days of the Genocide, the play is Mashirika’s biggest production to date, having been cast before a 25,000-strong crowd at the 10th Genocide commemoration.

Hope Azeda, the founder and artistic director of Mashirika, wrote the play, with inspiration from personal testimonies and experiences pieced together from Genocide survivors. Befittingly, Africa’s Hope was cast as the closing piece for day one of this year’s four-day festival on Thursday July 14. In its second year now, the second edition of the Ubumuntu Arts Festival closed Sunday, July 17, at the Kigali Genocide Memorial amphitheatre in Gisozi.

What initially drew Rwandans and the world’s attention to the play was the sheer size of its cast when it first debuted at the 10th Genocide commemoration on April 7, 2004. That time, it was performed by a cast of 1,000 actors! The following year (July 2005), the Mashirika troupe staged the play at the 31st G8 Summit in Edinburg in the UK. The initial cast of 1,000 was downsized to just a dozen actors who made the UK tour.


Since then, the play has been Mashirika’s way of showing the world what Rwandans are doing to rebuild their country socially, politically, economically and culturally in the new post-Genocide dispensation. Formed in 1997, out of the ashes of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Mashirika employs theatre platforms like dance, song, poetry and movement to re-examine the very notion of humanity, highlighting the grave dangers of extremism and racial intolerance.

Africa’s Hope manages to successfully honor the lives that were lost, violated or debased in 1994, while skillfully shielding the audience from the trauma that would ordinarily result from taking these real life testimonies in. The play’s powerful message has been commended for its critical contribution to healing and reconciliation in Rwandan societies, while at the same time it has played a pivotal role in helping international audiences to understand the nature of conflict and the copying mechanisms in the aftermath of mass human atrocity.

Read the full article at NewTimes

Featuring our sponsor Rwandair

Rwandair began operations on 1st December 2002 as the new national carrier under the name Rwandair Express for Rwanda with a concession to carry out airport ground handling (ancillary activity) at Kigali International Airport, Kanombe. In March 2009, the company registered a new trademark “RwandAir” which is their current operating name. Operating from Kigali as our hub in the heart of Africa, RwandAir is one of the fastest growing airlines and operates one of the youngest and state of the art fleet on the African continent.

As Ubumuntu Arts Festival brought together artists and staff from 18 participating countries, transport was one of our big challenges. Rwandair's support was a great asset and we want to thank them warmly for their help that was greatly appreciated.

The journey continues

The collaboration "Dear Children Sincerely" from the first edition of Ubumuntu Arts Festival is continuing and is now invited to the Metta International Theatre Festival which is taking place in Mumbai, India from September 18th to 22nd. Read more in our next newsletter!

An event like this is made possible by our sponsors, partners and friends. If you want to support our cause you can donate easily on our
website, via Paypal or call +250 788 600131.

Murakoze Thank You Merci Murakoze Thank You Merci Murakoze Thank You Merci 
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