The first ever Ubumuntu Arts festival, a two-day event at the Amphitheatre of the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda, starts tomorrow – with participants drawn from Rwanda and another dozen countries around the World.

Inspired by and created for the sake of humanity, the festival slogan is, “I am because you are, you are because I am”.

Art is a powerful form of communication for sharing, expressing opinions, airing issues, emotions, and values about all aspects of life that affect humanity. In spite of this, it is often regarded as merely a platform for entertainment rather than – as here – an avenue for civic dialogue.

Art has played a crucial role in tackling Rwanda’s immense post genocide challenges, and remains part of a continued solution to the issues confronting Rwanda – the same issues confronting all of humanity.

The intention of the Ubumuntu Arts Festival is therefore to act as a bridge between nations and cultures, providing a space where people from different countries can come together to learn from each other and be empowered to spearhead the healing process in their countries.

It will be an annual festival at the outdoor amphitheatre of the Kigali Genocide Memorial, taking place in the last week of the 100-day Genocide commemoration. Festival activities will include performances, workshops, panel discussions and genocide memorial site visits.

The countries represented in this first Ubumuntu Arts Festival include Sri Lanka, Lebanon, the USA, Egypt, Canada, Serbia, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, Zimbabwe and of course Rwanda.