From 14th to 16th July, the Kigali Genocide Memorial hosted the 9th edition of the Ubumuntu Arts Festival under the theme ‘Believe: Faith over Fear’. Ubumuntu, meaning ‘Humanity’ in Kinyarwanda, embodies the essence of the festival.

Through specially curated theatre, music and contemporary dance performances, artists from over 18 countries gathered at the Memorial Amphitheatre connecting with the world to celebrate humanity.

“This year’s edition reminds us that, even in the face of fear, belief can guide us towards a brighter future,” Festival Curator Hope Azeda remarked at the opening of the festival. “Through the universal language of art we bridge divides, conquer challenges and cultivate a collective spirit of resilience and hope.”

Hundreds from local and global audiences have seen the thrilling “Seen, Heard, Felt”, a play performed by Malaika Uwamahoro and Sema Sole which provides deep insights on pressures of being a man in today’s world, and gives a call to positive masculinities through spoken word and rap song. This came about as a result of Mashirika Performing Arts partnering with the Aegis Trust in Aegis’ campaign to promote positive masculinities in the journey towards gender equality.

Speaking at the opening of the festival, Dr James Smith, Founder of Aegis Trust – which manages the Kigali Genocide Memorial on behalf of MINUBUMWE – noted the value of building a place like the Amphitheatre.

“We have built this facility to provide space where generations can come together, connect and embrace humanity,” Smith said. “Arts have a unique way to help us express ourselves and break barriers that can divide us. We are thrilled to host this festival once again.”

The Ubumuntu Arts Festival was inaugurated at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Amphitheatre in 2015. It has since become an annual event that takes place after the last week of the 100 days commemorating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The tenth edition is scheduled for 19-21 July 2024 under the theme: “Integrity: Resilience in the Face of Adversity,” and serves as a clarion call to uphold what is right in a world often plagued by deceit and deception. It is also a reminder to remain steadfast in our values and to embrace resilience when faced with obstacles.

Pictures of the festival can be viewed here: Day 1        Day 2          Day 3