I am Kigali Festival: Partying for Cultural Diversity

07:55 AM 2016

Hundreds of Kigalians joined Urban Boyz, Makanyaga, Makumbi Sound and many others to celebrate cultural diversity at the I am Kigali Festival on December 17th. With energetic music, dance and art performances, the festival aimed to show how a mix of cultures contributes to making Kigali a vibrant and inclusive city.

“I am Kigali – we are all Kigali – thank you for partying with us!” The popular trio, Urban Boyz made the audience dance with joy as they closed the I am Kigali Festival with an explosive show. The I am Kigali Festival was created in collaboration between International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Impact Hub Kigali to mark the International Migrants Day, which falls on December 18th each year. The festival was a celebration of cultural diversity, showcasing how migration contributes to a vibrant society with mix of cultures, people and backgrounds. For a full day, guests enjoyed music, art, dance performances, and food in the festival area at Rwanda Revenue Authority’s parking area in Kimihurura.

The festival featured a wide range of artists: From the modern, af­robeat, RnB ­style of UrbanBoyz to­ an afro vintage sou­nd of the legendary M­akanyaga. Young hip hop talents such as Prime and JDubz teamed up with more established names such as Tito’s trio for an amazing jazz, hip hop fusion that made the audience wild with excitement. Makumbi Sound gave a dynamic jazz performance before the crowd enjoyed a con­temporary dance perfo­rmances by Amizero le­d by Abdul Mujyambere.

As a very special part of the festival, a group of Burundian dancers and drummers had come from Mahama Refugee camp to perform and to showcase the diverse culture that lives within Rwanda.

IOM estimates that one in seven people worldwide are migrants, and the International Migrants Day puts focus on the millions of people living as migrants and honors those who lost their lives in perilous journeys trying for a better life.

The I am Kigali Festival turned International Migrants Day into a big celebration among Rwandans, foreigners and refugees who all came together for a unique day of music, art and culture.

IOM Rwanda Chief of Mission, Catherine Northing, who was behind the idea of the festival, was very happy with the turnout.

“I want to thank everyone for coming to celebrate with us. We had such a diverse mix of artists, audience, food and performances – this just shows how vibrant and diverse Kigali is. Rwanda is a unique place because it’s so welcoming to migrants and refugees, and it makes it a very culturally interesting place to be. We want to thank everyone in Rwanda for being such good hosts”.


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