Friday, May 7, 2021

For Rwanda’s Ubumuntu Arts Festival, Kinonso goes crowd-funding


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Ubumuntu Arts Festival

Rarely adopted in the Nigerian art space to raise funds for artistic and cultural projects, Kinonso Koncepts may have broken the ice as the pioneering theatre company to crowd-fund its forthcoming invitational performance in Kigali, Rwanda at the fourth Ubumuntu Arts Festival. The festival holds from July 13 through 15, 2018 at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre Amphitheatre.

The Nigerian theatre company will perform Punctuation at the invitational festival. With about two weeks to go, the company is appealing to spirited individuals to bail it out with more funding to fly Nigeria’s flag in Kigali. Wole Oguntokun’s Renegade Theatre attended last year and performed The Chibok Girls: Our Story.

Since June 12, the Joshua Alabi-led Kinonso Koncepts has been campaigning hard on its social media platforms to raise money to make the invitational to Kigali. By mid last week, the company had only raised a paltry N100,000 out of the over N400,000 it needs for flight tickets and other logistics for cast and crew of six.

But in an ecstatic WhatsApp message announcing the feat of raising N100,000, Alabi expressed gratitude to those who have donated so far, saying: “We started our campaign to raise more funds to add up to the amount Goethe Institut (German Cultural Centre), Kigali, sponsored us with to come perform our piece, Punctuation at the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Rwanda. It is created for the sake of honouring the 1994 Kigali victims of genocide at the Memorial Amphitheatre. I’m glad to say that within 15 days we have raised N100,000… The crowd funding is needed, especially to make the flights for two persons (out of cast of six) possible and to cater for costumes, props and set. We are glad that we called and you answered. Even European and American theatre companies usually do this.

“Our target is N400,000 and we are far from it. We use this moment to thank those who have supported so far, from Lagos, Ife, Frankfurt, Boston, and Delta. We still have a long way to go, but we know we can make it.”A statement from the organisers of the festival said, “Art has manifested itself world over as an efficient form of communicating, expressing opinions, airing issues and sharing values about all aspects of life that affect humanity. We are convinced that art as a forum for communication, expression, reflection, innovation and creativity is a key motor for social change. The word Ubumuntu can be defined as ‘Being human.’

“Our festival aims at creating an avenue where people from different walks of life can come together and speak to each other in the language of Art. As Desmond Tutu once said, “My humanity is bound together in yours, for we can only be human together.” His profound words have been the inspiration behind the festival slogan: “I am because you are, you are because I am: we are human together”.

“Ubumuntu Arts Festival is the brainchild of Hope Azeda, a major figure in contemporary Rwandan theatre, and the founder and Artistic Director of Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company.”

First held in 2015, it is a yearly event following the last week of the 100 days commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. It is held at the outdoor amphitheater of Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre and brings different artists from around the world to convene in Kigali, Rwanda. Festival activities include but are not limited to performances, workshops, panels and genocide memorial site visits. The festival is free and open to everybody and therefore relies on donations and sponsors for financial support.

The festival’s chief goals include, creating awareness of stories of humanity internationally, promoting peace building and healing from violence, providing cutting-edge training and mentorship to artists, providing space for artists to network, grow, share and create, equipping festival attendees with tools to enable them to be agents of change, and providing a one-stop centre for art professionals in terms of resources and creative industry.

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