Creative industry still in limbo

Monday August 23 2021
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South African Band Mafikizolo Perform at one of the past events in Kigali. PHOTO | ANDREW I KAZIBWE


Creative industry is still uncertain as economy reopens to recover from impact of restrictions caused by Covid-19.

While other sectors have resumed their activities, entertainment industry, which employs many Rwandans is still in dilemma on what future holds for it.

Major events that were traditionally held before coronavirus struck have been cancelled with no certain dates when they will be staged.

From music concerts and festivals, to fashion shows, art Exhibitions, car expositions, sports, food and beer fests, dance, comedy and film festivals, enterainment scene is quite with little activities going on.

As the economystrives to recovery, there is still a dark cloud of uncertainty whether these events will be revived.

“It is possible to revive these events, but this will take us a period of close to four years,” said John Kennedy Mazimpaka, an actor and administrator at the Mashariki African Film Festival.


Judo Kanobano, a producer and events organiser at Positive Productions, shares a similar thought, and cites how the opening of the social events space isn’t going to immediately benefit organsers, “The audiences turn up will possibly be low, so it will require more investment into publicity to attract more people to events,” he adds.

Joseph Mushoma, an events organizer from East African Promoters said there could be a likely possibility of borrowing from western countries, whose events space is gradually being revived.

"We’ve lately witnessed mostly matches, with fully packed stadia, where people have been vaccinated, which I think might happen here,” he states.

Though it could be still early to figure it all out, Mathew Rugamba, a fashion designer and co-founder of the Collective Rw-Week of Fashion says there is a need to learn from countries where related events have been given a green light.

To Rugamba, live events are likely to change completely, since the lockdown has altered how people used to live and interact.

“Something of such magnitude changes the way people interact and they experience things,” he explains, “In a space where we have eliminated touch, being in proximity, so bringing even family members who haven’t seen each other for years but are to meet suddenly in a concert, even when vaccinated, there is an element of human nature that has already been altered,” he adds.

Just before the pandemic hit, there was sponsorship gaps, which saw some events vanish, with no hope of return.

The accessibility of sponsors still raises concerns among event organisers. “It hasn’t been easy attracting sponsors, and I think it is going to be tougher since the few sponsors need more convincing,” Mushoma said.

While the few active investors present in the market are not necessarily interested in the arts, according to Mazimpaka.

Local arts scene hope has in the past majorly relied on foreign funding for its thriving, which is trickier now, since all economies have been hit by the pandemic.

Even with innovations in the proposed event reforms, Rugamba said organizers must think outside the box to attract sponsorship.