Covid-19 grinds events to a halt

Sunday March 22 2020


Music events are some of the affected activities in Rwanda due to the Covid 19 outbreak. Photo | Andrew I. Kazibwe  

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The outbreak of coronavirus in the country has hit hard entertainment industry, with events that had been lined up for the coming weeks being cancelled.

Most events are usually planned for in the first quarter, but the measures that were annouced by the government has forced events organisers to cancelled them.

As a precaution, the Ministry of Health directed places of worship and schools to be closed for a two-weeks but entertainment joints followed suit to avoid possible spread.

To kick off, was the Each On Reach One, a gospel concert which had been slated for March 8 didn’t take place as expected. Though thorough preparations had been made, the event was halted by organisers following an alert by the City of Kigali in the morning of that day.

This prompted a twist in this performance, which took place on March 9, at the Intare Conference Arena.

Unlike the usual, musicians led by Gospel duo Adriane Misigaro and Gentile Misigaro staged a live stage performance via a YouTube channel. Though several tickets had been purchased by the public prior to this events, the event’s manager said it was working of a refund.


Ikirenga Mu Bahanzi was another highly anticipated traditional music concert, which was to be staged on March 8, shocked many when it took a bold step of postponement to a later date.

Organised by Bwiza Media Ltd, the event on its fi rst edition advised audience which had purchased tickets to keep them for a later date.

Among the anticipated festivals, whose dates were lined up sooner this month are the Mashariki African Film Festival(MAFF), an annual event dedicated to the recognition and awarding of African films. Scheduled from March 21 to 27 in Kigali, it will not take place as well.

“We have been affected by this, and had to postponed it till further notice,” said Jonnes Kennedy Mazimpaka, the festival’s public relations and Communications officer. “We aren’t looking at the cost and loss, but health comes first,” added Mazimpaka.

According to him, similar festivals usually held between March and April from around the world are faced by the same fate, which definitely affect their cause.

Organising its return, the Africa in Colors Festival which had been scheduled for March 26 to 28 was postponed too. Eying Rwanda as its host, the event aims at developing and improving creative industry ecosystems, facilitating trade between creative entrepreneurs across Africa.

RG Consult, a cooperate events company, cites the effect the alert has caused. Bringing together an audience of over 600 people, Kigali Jazz Junction, a monthly live music event, is one of those facing being halted till further notice, “Having done prior preparations a year before, it is defi nitely a  ecting us,” a rmed Remygious Lubega, one of the event’s Coordinators.

Having recently ventured into the mainstream events space, then introducing Seka Live, a monthly Comedy show featuring foreign guest performers alongside local acts, Arthurnation, another events company cites the effect of the Civid-19 alert,

“We are canceling our monthly shows till further notice, since we operate in a space where local and international audiences meet,” explains Nice Budandi, an administrator.