Category: African Art News

Groupov plays Rwanda 94

Photo provided by the Embassy of Rwanda, Brussels


La Cantata Bisesero

The famous play Rwanda 94 will be represented this Saturday, January 25 at Bozar Museum in Brussels.

Rwanda 94, created in 2000 by the Liège Groupov, a collective of artists gathered around Delcuvellerie Jacques, is a tribute to the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsis, in Rwanda. Bisesero was the landmark of resistance, where nearly 50,000 Tutsi died twenty years ago, struggling for their lives. This epopee is an attempt of a symbolic redemption for the dead, represented by the living. BOZAR offers the first two parts of this show on the big screen, followed by a live interpretation of the last part La Cantata Bisesero. Based on testimonies of survivors collected by African Right, five actors, two singers, a string trio, a piano and a clarinet interpret the partition of Garrett List.


15h 00: Rwanda 94

20h 30: La Cantata Bisesero


18€ (14€ if <26)

For more information: BOZAR, BELGIQUE

See Groupov, programme diffused by  50° Nord (french) : ARTE- BELGIQUE “à revoir”

Source: Embassy of Rwanda, Brussels


Poised to Take On African Fashion





Photo: Simon Deiner

Kigali — When Rwandan designer Colombe Ituze Ndutiye began drawing at the age of six, she thought she would grow up to be a cartoonist.

But now at the age of 25 she has the distinction of being the first Rwandan to own her own fashion label, “INCO icyusa“, and was one of 10 local designers who showed off their creations on the runway at the second Kigali Fashion Week on Nov. 8.

“I wanted it to be something young and more classic, but I added traditional accessories to combine the two very different cultures,” Ndutiye tells IPS of her new collection, Wild Identity.

“Normally, when we have those traditional accessories it’s just for a wedding. They symbolise a Rwandan theme. Having it mixed with western culture, for me, it was something wild,” says Ndutiye, who first became intrigued by fashion design when she met a Belgium designer in Rwanda.

Rwanda’s economy has come a long way since the 1994 genocide that resulted in the deaths of almost one million people in less than 100 days.

Before 1994, the country had a “small and uncompetitive” industrial sector, which manufactured soap, textiles, small-scale beverages, furniture and plastic goods. But now the government hopes it will become the Singapore of Africa. “Rwanda hopes to emulate and replicate Singapore’s ICT feat in Africa by creating favourable ICT policies that lay the groundwork for its ICT sector,” the report states.

According to an October economic report by South African-based research and strategy firm Consultancy Africa Intelligence, post-genocide Rwanda has achieved a lot in its Information and Communications Technology sector.

And there is hope that Rwanda could become just as successful with its fashion. Local company House of Fashion was established almost two years ago to support and promote the Rwandan industry. House of Fasion’s head John Bunyeshuli says Rwandans have a “subtle” style, with the “high end” of the population able to travel to Europe to buy clothes.

“But the middle [income sector], mostly go to markets [that sell] secondhand clothes,” Bunyeshuli tells IPS.

He says there is a perception here that fashion is not for the serious minded.

“Rwanda is a new country, we’re still catching up. Yes, people here do fashion shows, but they take it as a luxury,” Bunyeshuli says.

LDJ Productions, the company that has been running New York Fashion Week (NYFW) for the past decade, say there is certainly potential in Rwanda for a booming rag trade.

Founder and chief executive officer Laurie DeJong has been mentoring Ndutiye for the past two years after hearing about her through thePeace Through Business (PTB) programme, an initiative of the U.S.-based non-profit Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women.

The programme involves pairing western female entrepreneurs with women in Afghanistan and Rwanda in order to empower them. Although Ndutiye was not picked for the programme, PTB’s founder connected DeJong with the African designer.

“Fashion is one of the biggest industries in the world,” DeJong tells IPS.

“New York Fashion Week is one of the biggest events in New York City, it brings in the most income of any event in New York City. I think the potential for the revenue for this country [Rwanda] is just as huge,” she says.

In the lead-up to Kigali Fashion Week’s Nov. 8 evening show, LDJ helped with fittings, building the catwalk, and installing lights and sound. They also organised marketing and business workshops and a photo shoot for each designer.

“This, for us, is a lot smaller than what we’re used to but it’s also difficult for us to work in a country that doesn’t have the resources that we’re used to having,” DeJong says. “But they have an incredible will to learn here and they’re so committed and serious about doing this.”

Upcoming Ivorian designer Michaella Rugwizangoga sees a gap in the Rwandan market and plans to continue working here on her lineChicissime, which she launched last year.

“[The West African fashion industry] is much older. They have more skills and the country where I was born is on the sea so it’s not a land-locked country like Rwanda, so there’s much more choice of fabric,” Rugwizangoga tells IPS.

She points to the success of Ghanaian and Nigerian designers who are now selling their clothes at London’s Selfridges department store. Selfridges stocks Ndani, the Nigerian fashion project label that showcases a number of Nigeria’s designers. But Rugwizangoga points out: “[Fashion] is a new industry in Rwanda so there’s a lot of excitement and curiosity.”

But Rwanda currently lacks a local fashion school. And Belgian-born Candy Basomingera, who partnered with Sonia Mugabo to design the women’s range, Afrikana Exquisiteness, would love to learn more about the industry.

“There’s no fashion school here… You can learn on the job but it will never be as good as if you went to a school where they teach you the basics and you go for internships with big fashion houses,” Basomingera, who is planning to start selling her range online soon, tells IPS.

Basomingera, who is part Belgian Congolese and part Rwandan, worked in public health but when her contract ended a year ago, she decided to venture into fashion.

She says she would love it if Rwandan designers, models, tailors and photographers were able to travel aboard and be exposed to international fashion industries.

Her dream may come true. There is a possibility that some Rwandan fashion designers may go to NYFW next year.

And there are plans to bring international sponsors onboard for the third Kigali Fashion Week. But before that there will be a mini Fashion Week in May with a fashion school involving industry figures from the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. The long-term goal is to construct Rwanda’s first school of the arts with the House of Fashion.


Related articles:

Bunyeshuli Weaving Kigali Fashion Week II

The baby that is the Kigali Fashion Week makes two years this November. And, naturally, we all expect a bigger and better event than the first, which had its own share of teething problems… read more

Kigali Fashion Show – It Was a Panorama of Latest Fashion Trends

It was motley of both local and international fashionatas and fashion lovers, as the Kigali Fashion Show came to a close last Friday, at Serena hotel, Kigali… read more

Best Music Promoters Awarded

Candidates of the REMOAwards (Photo: Izuba Rirashe/ Ububiko)


06. August 2013

by Jean d’Amour MBONYINSHUTI

Rwandan Entertainers and Musicians Organisation (REMO), has awarded artistes and people who promote music in the Northern Province.

Musanze-based famous artiste, Franc Kay led the nominees going into the inaugural REMO Awards, with nods and he was all smiles on Saturday evening, after emerging the Best Male artiste.

Sister Jamy had a teary moment when she took home the award for the Best Female Artiste. Twelve-year Mucyo Gloire, also had a reason to celebrate after beating several young artistes in Musanze district to emerge the Best Popular Teen Artiste.

The Award for Best Modern Dancing group went to Jaba Workers and the Best Popular Song was “Ikibazo” by The Bless.

“I am so honored to receive this award. This has motivated me to even work harder to improve my career in music,” the excited The Bless told the crowd upon receiving the trophy.

Theogene Ntamukunzi won the Best Traditional Artiste and Impete y’umuco as the overall Best Traditional Dancing Group. The 1st annual awards ceremony also recognised journalists, music producers and film producers, among others. Some officials in the Northern Province were also awarded during the event for promoting and supporting the artistes.

Present were officials from various government institutions, including the Rwanda Governance Board, National Youth Council and senior police officials. The Governor of Northern Province Aime Bosenibamwe, said the government supports and encourages the youth to be creative and innovative. “Artistes are among creative and innovative people that the government recognises and pledge to support their projects as longer as they are in line with the government policy,” he said.

According to Francine Umutoni, the president of REMO, the event aims to promote artistes and musicians.

Read also:


Gahunda yo guhemba abahanzi muri “REMO Award ” yarahindutse (Kinyarwanda)

Ishyirahamwe ry’abahanzi n’abateza muzika imbere mu Rwanda (REMO) ku nshuro ya mbere ryateguye amarushanwa y’abahanzi bo mu Karere ka Musanze, gahunda y’igitaramo cyo guhemba abatsinze ikaba yarahindutse.

Mu kiganiro Umutoni Francine ukuriye Rwandan Entertainers & Musicians Organisation (REMO) yagiranye n’ikinyamakuru Izuba Rirashe, yavuze ko igikorwa cyo guhemba abahanzi bazatsinda amarushanwa yateguye cyari giteganyijwe ku wa 8, cyimuriwe ku itariki ya 29 Kamena 2013 kubera impamvu zitandukanye. [read all…]

The Rwandan Entertainers & Musician Organisation:

REMO (Rwandan Entertainers & Musician Organisation) is an annual award ceremony to acknowledge and honor musical excellence and entertainers creativity as well as provide a high profile and multi faceted celebration of the rich cultural diversity of Rwandan Music.

Our Objectives:

Celebrating musical achievements through the establishments of an institutional framework that follows, records and relays musical success stories on an ongoing basis (REMO).

Utilizing music as a vehicle for cultural expression i.e. customs food and critical component in attracting tourism inflows to the country.

Selecting a team of industry specialists to act as adjudicators in the process of identifying and selecting musicians who must be acknowledged and honored :

Organizing an annual musical awards that effectively competes at country level,

For its first time we are gong to acknowledge and honor musicians & partners in the northern province of Rwanda for their achievements since 2010 to 2013.  LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK !

Impressions of the Jamafest 2013

Culture plays a powerful role in human societies especially in their maintenance. When nations, or societies united by culture, share not only territories but values and belief systems, great strength results. It is easy to know who belongs and who does not; food, customs, clothes, symbols, language and other factors are readily identifiable member distinctions.

In many traditional cultures, tribal cohesiveness is maintained through a calendar of ritual events in which the village frequently dances from dusk until dawn. Many people join in, so there is usually a lot of call and response with people singing in answer to the drums or other percussive instruments. These events are about celebrating together, as a tribe, a clan, a village. (read whole article)

a few impressions of the JAMAFEST 2013 (Mo.11.February – So. 17. February 2013)

Photo: Full escort by police and MTN bikers (newsofrwanda)

Photo: Burundians perform at the carnival dance fiesta in Kigali (

Photo: Tanzanian cultural group went wild and thrilled on viewers in style (newsofrwanda)

More info: JAMAFEST

Artist of the week: ♚ Meet NaNa Kofi Acquah ♚

Nana is a young Ghanaian photoblogger who’s studying at the University of Cape coast in Accra, Ghana.


There are many things I pray for 2013. One of the most important among them is that in such a rich world, may no child go to be hungry; and may no mother ever have to sell her self for food this year….(Nana Kofi Aquah)


Photos from: A window to Ghana and Africa. No hungy child and other prayers for 2013…







Go to Nana’s Photoblog

The Spoken Word Thrills Attendees

For any poetry lover or art in general, all roads lead to the Manor Hotel in Nyarutarama yesterday  for the Spoken Word monthly episode organised by Spoken Word Rwanda.  The event, which ran with the theme Guilty Pleasures, started at 7.30pm and ended at 10.30pm.

“Spoken Word”, a monthly session that brings together poetry, art and live band music, took place on Wednesday night at exclusive The Manor Hotel in Nyarutarama.

The show that kicked off at 8:49pm, about an hour late from schedule, compensated for lost time with powerful poetry, interlude melodies accompanied by impressive guitar and piano performances from volunteers in the crowd and the occasional rib-cracking comedy from the MC.

What stood out the most though were the poetry recitals, done in a blend of English, French and Kinyarwanda under the theme “Guilty Pleasures”. Lines in particular poems ranged from stirring, funny, and nostalgic. After each poem, a long round of applause and ululation followed.

However, the night was brought to its climax by a “joke cracking” competition from four couples selected from the audience.

Performers at a past spoken word event. Inset Diana Mpyisi the event’s coordinator.

The winning couple earned itself a special dinner at hotel.

“I am so glad with the turn-up of this month’s event.

I only pray that a bigger number comes next time, “said Diana Mpyisi, co-founder and organiser of the Spoken Word initiative.

Source: BY IVAN NGOBOKA, 1 FEBRUARY 2013, The New Times

★Good to know: Re-Emerging: The Jews of Nigeria ★

Africa is a Country presents:

10 African films to watch out for

First up this week is Re-Emerging: The Jews of Nigeria, a documentary film (trailer above) by Jeff L. Lieberman about Nigerian Igbos who have adopted Judaism. (William Miles wrote a book about the same topic: Jews of Nigeria: An Afro-Judaic Odyssey; here’s an interview with Williams about his work.) Not unrelated to the film above, I came across this headline recently: “Moroccan film on Jewish Berbers sparks debate.” The film, Tinghir-Jersusalem: Echoes from the Mellah, is a documentary by French-Moroccan director Kamal Hachkar about the history of the Jewish Berbers of the small Moroccan mountain town of Tinghir who left during the 1950s and 1960s to resettle in Israel.  … read more here

Re-Emerging: The Jews of Nigeria

And if your seeking for more information about Jews and Judaism in Africa, here are some sites that could help you… :

Judaism in Africa – Jews in Africa (Standford Education)

The History of Ethiopian Jews ( The Jewish Virtual Library)

The Jews of Africa (

Last but not least…

To close this subject, here a rather curious video in which Israeli Justice Minister Ya’akov Ne’eman speaks about what he calls the biggest problems facing the Jewish people at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, 2011:

Source: Africa is a Country, Google

Kagame Receives Peace Award

President Paul Kagame yesterday received the African Peace Personality award 2012, which he won after an online voting by African students/youth across the continent.

President Kagame with the delegation from Nigeria after they handed to him the Africa Peace Personality award 2012, at Village Urugwiro, yesterday. The New Times/Village Urugwiro.

The accolade was presented to the Head of State by the reigning Miss University queen of Africa, Rorisang Molefe, during an event held at Village Urugwiro.

The 18-year old Lesotho beauty was accompanied by a group of seven prominent Nigerian personalities, Joseph Habineza, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, and Protais Mitali, Minister of Youth and Culture.

Kagame was shortlisted for the prestigious award alongside three nominees who included presidents, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Olesugun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria.

The voting process which was done via Miss University Africa website and lasted for 41 days saw President Kagame win with 817,201 votes.

The Head of State was recognized for his ingenuity and style of leadership to unite the people of Rwanda and seek peaceful means to stabilise the country after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Kagame got the highest number of votes from Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria.

Speaking to journalists shortly after presenting the award to the President, the continental beauty queen said: “We presented the award to President Kagame, because we the youth recognised him for the efforts he put in towards healing Rwanda after the Genocide.”

“We were at the Kigali Genocide Memorial and we were told about the genocide, it was really touching and painful to know what really happened here 18 years ago and it’s also surprising how quickly the country has developed, healed and stood up”.

Molefe stated that President Kagame emerged winner because of the good leadership that has spearheaded Rwanda’s recovery and development.

“After receiving the award, you could see he was really touched and humbled. He is a gentle and down to earth President and I was privileged to present it to him,” she observed.

The delegation was led by Yemisi Dooshima Suswam, the First Lady of the Nigeria State of Benue.

“The award is unique because it’s the voice of Africa. It recognized President Kagame’s efforts in maintaining peace and bringing reconciliation process in the country which has resulted in this development strategy that the world is witnessing in Rwanda today,” Suswam said.

According to Habineza, the delegation from Nigeria was very pleased to interact with President Kagame.

“The Head of State had a wide range of discussions with them regarding Rwanda’s recovery process and encouraged the young people to be responsible leaders and never be ridden like horses, but should be the horse riders,”

Habineza told journalists after the delegation met the President.

Former recipients of the award include the late Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wangari Maathai of Kenya, and Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and as well as Dr. Yahya A J J Jammeh of Gambia.




‘Sweet Poison’ – Aid as Business

The African premiere of ‘Sweet Poison’, an 89-minute documentary on the blessings and curse of foreign development aid took place at Kigali Serena Hotel on Tuesday.


Kenya’s Turkana Fishplant in ruins.

Written and directed by Peter Heller, the film had its first world premiere two weeks ago at the Hamburg Film Festival in Germany.

The movie’s subtitle ‘Aid as Business’ displays a clear view of foreign aid from various African perspectives. It is estimated that over 800,000 people worldwide survive on aid.



Production crew during a shooting session of the film.

Another scene in the movie that demonstrate the orgies of aid.

Focusing on Mali, Kenya and Tanzania as case studies, from over a period of thirty years, ‘Sweet Poison’ demonstrates that development aid has had only limited and sometimes questionable effects.

First, the documentary reveals the initial impression Africans get as they receive aid in the form of food, infrastructure and machinery. But as a result, the aid creates a dependency syndrome among the people/countries who end up discarding activities that sustained them before.

The film also highlights the taboos of north to south relations and the African complex with provocative analytic statements, views and opinions from African journalists and experts. It then offers options for African countries to develop towards a self-determined future.

Once aid is then withdrawn, people become vulnerable and are compelled to cope up with the situation.

Heller, who is a veteran filmmaker, has made films for the last 40 years. “For forty years, I have been making films on Africa- our neighbouring continent, searching, observing and analysing its connections and relations,” Peter Heller, of ‘Sweet Poison’ told The New Times.


Another scene in the movie that demonstrate the orgies of aid.

“I felt that as most African countries have had 50 years of independence, what the progress has been made so far-especially as most of them receive foreign aid?” he posed.

The film’s premiere comes in at a time when Rwanda is currently embroiled in a tussle with powerful Western nations over ‘Foreign Aid’.

“I was very satisfied with the strong reactions people expressed after its screening. I didn’t expect people to welcome and appreciate it that way,” he added.

The filmmaker is expected to begin the promotional tour of his film promotional tour throughout his native Germany in November, alongside Mohammed Gueye, one of the commentators in the film.


Official Trailer “Süsses Gift”, Peter Heller (german):






Source:  ANDREW ISRAEL KAZIBWE, 27 OCTOBER 2012, The New Times,

Rwandan Filmmaker goes to Hollywood…

Annette Uwizeye is a Rwandan filmmaker who has made several short films and commercials and opens a platform to encourage young women to venture into various fields.

The founder of ‘A WIZE Films’ production company, Annette Uwizeye, is one of the few women working in Rwanda’s nascent film industry. The South Africa-educated 31-year-old discovered her passion for the arts while pursuing a degree in Auditing and Accounting at the University of South Africa.

In an interview with Women Today, the eloquent and open-minded Annette narrates how she switched from a career that many consider ‘safe’, to embrace her true passion.

“My dad is an accountant by profession. One would think that numbers come naturally in my family but in my final year, I struggled and wasn’t really focused. I asked myself if I could settle as an auditor because my family thought it was the most promising career. I repeated my final year three times due to retakes and eventually my dad decided to transfer me to another school. It was either that, or think things through back at home,” the Kenyan-born narrates.

“I was drawn to the art but was not sure on whether to do theatre or film. I’m glad that Rwanda Cinema Centre opened doors for me. I had to take a course in film but wasn’t sure whether my dad would pay for it. But there was something in me that would just not let go. I applied to a film school in South Africa and fortunately, after the interview I was accepted,” she explains.

“One thing that cemented my desire to change career direction was taking a trip down memory lane. I was just six years old and a lady saw me drawing and sketching funny things and when she asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, easily, I said I wanted to be an artist. Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, says that as you grow up, the child in you has the purest sense of what you ought to be,” she reveals.

She further said you should always look back into your childhood because it holds the answer to who you are and what you want to be.

“Things don’t happen by coincidence, once you identify your path and purpose in life, things fall into place. For example, a typo in my admission letter to film school indicating tuition fees for a year was only R7000 an approximate $1000, this easily prompted my family to once again sponsor my tuition for a film degree, but 6 months later we discovered that everyone else was paying R17,000 – the first digit had been omitted and there was no turning back,” She narrates.

She has written, directed and produced several projects in South Africa and Rwanda. Other than co-producing the award- winning TV show, the M-Net Edit (Emerging Dynamics in Television) 2010 competition, she has also produced many of the MTN Rwanda commercials that aired last year.

She is currently working on a film called ‘Uwera’,due to be released next year.

On the subject of overcoming challenges she said, “There is this term called servant leadership. In leading teams, you inspire individuals to achieve the best and maintain a level of professionalism. You lead a team not to dominate but to collaborate. We also make sure that we pay people fairly and on time. These are things I have come to learn and appreciate just by observing my role models.”

This year, she founded A WIZE Films and partnered with Moukhtar Omar Sibomana, who is also passionate about film.

“At A WIZE Films, we describe ourselves as ‘story-mongers’. We are here to trade stories. Our slogan is, “Bring the World to Rwanda and take Rwanda to the World.” Our aim is to create entertaining and heartening content for film and television. I believe film is a tool for inspiring change, mirrors society and cultural exchange,” Annette explains.

The filmmaker advised women to embrace their true calling.

“It’s okay to be scared; we all get scared at some point. Through my journey, I hesitated at times but you need to trust that if you’re in the right path, things will work out, so have some faith. Acknowledge your talent and passion because no one will do it for you; one baby step at a time,” Annette adds.

She also said that women in Rwanda, who have succeeded in different fields, need to tell their story to inspire others.

“A platform showcasing women achievers would really encourage young women to venture into various fields. Women need to believe that they can do anything, not just in business but life in general,” she explains.

The funny and outgoing filmmaker is still single but to sweep her off her feet, candidates need to have at least five qualities.

“He should be God fearing, family oriented, passionate about what he does, a Rwandan, and taller than 5ft 11 inches,” she laughs.

Anette Uwizeye: Show Reel (Youtube video)

Source: DOREEN UMUTESI, 25 OCTOBER 2012, The New Times,