November is here,

reminding us of the power of art. Art celebrates, enhances, lifts but it is also a powerful tool in the face of uncertainty, shock, helplessness and anger. In the face of past horrors, the search for belonging or current political torrents let's turn to art. For comfort, for consolidation, for answers and as a source of energy.


Life is an encounter and so is art. 

On the 24th of September 2016, I was invited to the launch of " The national museum of african american history . It was Indeed one of those experiences that enriches one's life with wisdom , Which wisdom will be the canvas for ubumuntu arts festival 2017...As a human being who happens to be an artist I can only write what sticks to my mind and hence ...

The shackles of a child

A soft spoken woman looking like a Rwandese stood with a beautiful smile by the door as she ushered in invites .And before I could unfold my lips to greet her in Kinyarwanda, she stretched out her hand,"Welcome, My name is Neda Brown and am the public Affairs officer at the United States embassy. I get ushered to my posterior as I choke my Kinyarwanda with a smile.

And so  we wait for the mercy of the 'holy internet' to let the Livestream of the most important story of America to be aired with ease. As technicians sweat it out my eyes catch a poster with a nerve wracking title and an awkward looking image...'The child's shackles before 1860'. This is when it occurs to me that the next two hours are going to be extremely difficult and haunting, what kind of man or being would dare confine the tender wrists and ankles of a child?

Ah! Finally... Angelique Kidjo is performing and so the event is Live in Kigali at Inema center. Am swept away by the powerful and poetic speeches Wrapped up by the one and only first black president, Barack Obama in first white concrete, I start writing a few lines that kept registering in my head...

It is a story alive
The story of our lives
This story is not about this place, but about our journey
How can we not believe
When this place will engage and educate
We come for, not only for today but all the time
This place helps tell the story of who we are
A story that defines us
A good history is a good foundation for the present and future
We are larger than we have been told
This story is not for only African Americans, but for all Americans
It is a global conversation
It Is a glorious story
It is complicated and dirty like all great stories. 

And so the two hours that felt like two thousand years end in the land of a thousand hills. They end with an image of ' The child's shackles before 1860'.

by Hope Azeda

What is home? 

Ubumuntu arts festival seeks partnership with TOSH (Telling our stories of home) University of north Carolina. 

What is home? It is a simple question, and a complex one. Ideally, home is a place of belonging, legitimacy, and comfort. But home is fragile.  For some, however, home is a war zone, a place of pain, and a space of un-belonging. Home can be fleeting. Home is paradoxical. And for some, home is contingent on factors that range from sexuality to class, color, gender, religion, and history. 

The Telling Our Stories of Home conference and festival (March -April 2016)  came to fruition after reading Heather A. Williams’s innovative history, Help Me to Find My People, a book about African Americans’ quest to reunify their families after Emancipation in the United States. 

The conference brought over 28 participants from 10 countries to the campus and local communities to discuss wide-ranging issues on home. The experiences of artists and scholars, as Édouard Glissant argues, are lived in a “web of relation.” This web is a network of feeling laden with empathy and the implications of taking another’s story into yourself and feeling it as your own. 

Stories matter—we learn from them and change from them. They provide connective tissue that allow us to explore these questions of home in historical, political, and contemporary contexts. These stories serve as a mirror that can raise the level of consciousness and deepen public understanding of our values, histories, and principles.

You can find out more about the program here.

Our November Guest
Tanya Shields from TOSH

Tanya Shields is an associate professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Her first book, 
Bodies and Bones: Feminist Rehearsal and Imagining Caribbean Belonging (2014) examines the ways in which rehearsing historical events and archetypal characters shapes belonging to the region.  Feminist rehearsal helps us explore the ways in which people continually negotiate terms of membership and how these transactions reveal structures of resistance, oppression, and inequality. Dr. Shields teaches classes on Caribbean women, the arts of activism, growing up girl globally, and the continuing influence of plantation economics and politics. She is also a board member for the Maryland-based Carivision Community Theater, which seeks to use theater as space of exchange between Caribbean and U.S. theater audiences and a dramaturge for the Houston-based Process Theater’s “Plantation Remix” project.  
A dedication to victims of fear and anxiety 
Arts and healing poem


Healing with the Arts 

How do you medicate, a sick nation?
How do you educate, a new generation?
how do you turn, gray skies- blue?
How do delicately, unveil, painful truths…
How do you cultivate, bloody land-
and grow, firm trees, that will live to stand-?
How do you even, begin, to understand?
How do you even…? 

Where words fail…
the arts, have proven, to prevail…

Where torn hearts were bleeding…
in music, we found refuge, and healing…
Where sore eyes, were tearing…
in paintings, we found clearing…
Where traumatized minds were fearing…
in dance we began believing…
Where bad days seemed never ending…
in plays, we found happy endings…
Where our stories faced possibility of disappearing… 
In poetry we found a home, and shielding.

In making crafts, in the land of a thousand hills, we learned to smile, and laugh…
to share, and care…
In coming together to create-
We painted a hopeful fate…
and changed the state, of our lives-
Reminding ourselves what its like 
to be alive-
to survive,to strive,to thrive-

We know you neva hexperred it-
But here we are dear-,
Overcoming our fears-
Making careers-
We’re go getter’s
Trend setter’s 
Breaking world records.

Détendons nous, concentrons nous car on a du talent.
Rassemblons nous, partageons nous l'art, l'amour et l'argent.
Quittons les milieux de paresse, de pécheresse et de faiblesse
Puissante jeunesse la pensée positive nous offre hardiesse.
Le temps ne s'arrête pas, jeunesse réveille-toi !
Vas y écoute ça et bouge la tête comme ça.
Jeunesse sacrifiée par la vie et la crise,
Jeunesse ressuscitée par l'art du T.V
C'est l'heure les amis j'entends des beats dans les streets.
C'est les amis je vois des graffiti zarbi.
C'est il y a du style "Made in Africa"
C'est les amis réveillez-vous j'ai un deal...


Motivating and inspiring-
as we tell our stories-without-
lies and forgeries-
Making our voices heard-
with truth in every word-
we speak- Our past didn't define us 
as weak-…

Through the arts…
we document and share our parts-
Through creativity,
we’ve rejected idol negativity. 
We’re uplifting-
as mindsets are shifting.
Changing ways, the world views- 
and this, is our gifting,…to you- today.

Welcome to Ubumuntu.

Written By: Ines Giramata and Angel Uwamahoro.
Performed by: Winnie Rugamba, Angel Uwamahoro, Kaya Free, Lukas, Jamo, & Violinist.

Art is a form of love.

Art is the ultimate gift.

Art heals life.

Robert Genn

Christmas is coming. Why not give art? 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 
Copyright © 2016 Ubumuntu Arts Festival, All rights reserved.