The Ubumuntu Arts Festival is an annual event held in Kigali, Rwanda during the second week of July. It serves as a powerful tool for promoting communication, expression, reflection, innovation, and creativity, with the aim of driving social change. By providing a platform for societies to cope with their traumas and connect with the international community through art, the festival fulfills the need for a global platform.
Since its inception in 2015, the Ubumuntu Arts Festival has brought together artists from diverse backgrounds to engage in performances, workshops, panels, and visits to genocide memorial sites. The festival’s primary goal is to foster human interconnectedness, as reflected in its name “Ubumuntu,” meaning “Human.” With the slogan “We are Human Together,” the festival strives to unite people from different walks of life through the universal language of art.
At Ubumuntu, artists and participants can exchange ideas and explore issues related to social change through artistic expression. The festival’s founder, Hope Azeda, is a renowned figure in Rwandan theatre and the founder and Artistic Director of Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, a leading theatre company in Rwanda. Azeda’s global connections have helped establish the festival as a significant international event, providing a platform for artists and audiences to delve into profound questions of peace and humanity.
The impact of Ubumuntu has been substantial, both locally and internationally. By offering a platform for artists to showcase their work and engage audiences in thought-provoking performances, the festival contributes to social cohesion. Moreover, it has played a crucial role in the growth of Rwanda’s creative industry by facilitating connections between local artists and their international counterparts and audiences.
Additionally, the festival holds global importance as it shares Rwanda’s history and the enduring legacies of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. By addressing these critical aspects, the Ubumuntu Arts Festival has become an essential event on the global stage.