Inside Kigali's home of arts

Monday January 04 2021

Refreshment area at the Kigali Cultural Village. PHOTO | Andrew I. Kazibwe


Rwanda's art scene is richer with the inauguration of the Kigali Cultural Village, a space dedicated to arts and entertainment.

Among its welcome venues is the new Canal Olympia Rebero.

The €1,000,000 ($1,212,607) investment by French firm Vivendi Group is the fruit of a 2019 partnership with Rwanda Development Board.

Vivendi has 11 such projects across Africa. “We would love to develop this place as one for people to enjoy leisure, and we also value local music and fi lm talents, something we take very seriously,” explains Aimee Umutoni, the Canal Olympia Rebero manager.

Ms Umutoni adds that the venue has received several proposals from cultural entrepreneurs, artists, and event organisers for projects that she hopes will help turn around the facility.

In line with green energy goals, Canal Olympia boasts large solar panels, which power and run the facility, adding to its allure of eco-friendliness.


There are four distinctive facilities here: Canal Olympia cinema, the outdoor theatre, Escape Game, and the refreshment area.

Take Canal Olympia Cinema for example. This cinema epitomises comfort as it seats 300 people and comes with stylish red leather seats in a well-lit guidelines, a space of one seat is le‑ vacant between each reveller.

The cinema hall opened its doors for public screenings on December 6 and every week, from Tuesday to Sunday, it screens movies.

“At first, I thought that Rwandans would shy away from this development but we have seen Rwandan families showing up,” remarks Moses Kusiima, who is the head of protocol at Canal Olympia Rebero.

What is more, the tickets are affordable and convenient to pay for – mobile payments and bookings are allowed.

Tickets go for as low as Rwf2,500 for a standard show, Rwf3,000 for a 3D show and Rwf6,000for premieres, while 3D glasses are charged Rwf2,000. The indoor cinema is further attached to the outdoor amphitheatre that can accommodate over 20,000 people when observing Covid-19 protocol but over 40,000 after the pandemic.

Also, outdoor events like music concerts, open-air fi lm screenings, fashion shows and visual art fairs are planned for the future.

Even with the promise that Canal Olympia Rebero offers, the Kigali Cultural Village is still on the lookout for more investors for projects that are likely to place it among the leading cultural centres in East Africa.

These include art gallery, camp sites, heritage restaurant, eco-lodges, traditional food shops, traditional hut ensemble, games and leisure spaces.