Roundup: Rwanda's arts festival highlights vibrancy of African culture

  • World
  • Sunday, 25 Feb 2024

KIGALI, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- A new arts festival launched by Rwanda is providing a platform for African artists and curators to explore new narratives and build relationships while highlighting the vibrancy of the African cultural scene.

Organized by the Rwanda Arts Initiative (RAI) art center, the City of Kigali, and the Rwandan Ministry of Youth and Arts, the Kigali Triennial is a pan-African event that weaves together literature, theater, dance, music, cinema, fashion, digital arts, gastronomy, and design.

The festival, themed "Where art, knowledge and business converge," runs from Feb. 16 to 25 in the Rwandan capital of Kigali.

"A festival like this provides a platform for the young generation to find the sweetness and beauty of African culture in what is performed, including cultural dances," James Kennedy Mazimpaka, a Rwandan actor and writer, told Xinhua in an interview.

"I hope to meet so many artists from all over the world that I can get something from them, and they can get something from me. It is two-way. Let's build our lives around art; art is our life, and our life is art," said Mazimpaka, who also acts as an art mentor.

With more than 200 artists from 25 countries performing in 60 shows, the festival is a celebration of African excellence that also seeks to showcase Kigali as an emerging cultural capital.

Mazimpaka, who claimed he was born an actor, believed that while one can be an artist by their work, their culture is still their identity. "There is richness in our culture. There is a need to expose the young generation to African culture."

According to Sandrine Umutoni, Rwanda's minister of state for youth and arts, hosting the festival demonstrates Rwanda's appreciation of the vital role of the arts in youth development, its importance in creating bonds, and its contribution to the overall enrichment of society's cultural heritage.

The festival, the first of its kind, was initiated to educate not only the public but also professional artists, said Jules Cezar Niyonkuru, one of the organizers.

"It's an art market that will take place every three years to unite all of Africa and all disciplines. What we are trying to achieve is professionalization, building bridges with people who are here," said Niyonkuru, who is also an author, actor and theater director. "People learn not only about their own culture but also about other people's cultures. They also learn practical skills that they can use in their own careers after the festival."

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