Women solidly at heart, soul of throbbing art community

Friday March 12 2021

Carole Karemera, an actress and Theatre Director of Ishyo Arts Centre. PHOTO | ANDREW I. KAZIBWE


The composition of the Rwandan arts scene is loud about the place of women: Right at the centre. Be it theatre, film, dance, or music, see this ensemble.

Hope Azeda

Azeda’s career as an actress and artistic director, dates way back to the 1990s, when she fi rst ventured into theatre before shooting her way into film. Azeda is the founder and Artistic Director of Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, which since 1999 has groomed more youth into theatre, film, contemporary dance, music, and drama.

Ms Azeda is also initiator of Ubumuntu Arts Festival, a platform, which has grown to create and produce art presentations focusing on humanity and its value. Her accolades include Laureate of the 2018 John P McNulty prize, and the 2018 MAAFA Lifetime Award at the Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, New York, an award dedicated to individuals who stand out for their contribution towards awareness of humanity.

Odile Gakire Katese

The founder of Ingoma Nshya (New Drum), a leading female drummers’ troupe in East Africa, has through her footsteps taken a unique lane reflective of women empowerment and healing.


Holding over 20 drummers, the troupe spanning 17 years has performed in Rwanda and across the globe. The troupe is known for its vigorous, gracious performances through drumming and cultural dance.

Carole Karemera

This actress and theatre director is one of the most experienced artistic directors in Rwanda. Karemera, who also is actively vested in theater and film since the 1990s, is the Ishyo Arts Centre Co-founder and director, who has trained many for live theatre and film.

In 2018 she was honoured at the 20th edition of Journées Théâtrales de Carthage in Tunisia, for her career contribution as an African theater artist to the Arts by the Board of Trustees of the African World Heritage Fund. And in 2018, Mrs Karemera was also appointed Trustee to the Fund’s Board.

Judith Kaine

Hailing from the US, Kaine is a Colombia University, School of International and Public Affairs graduate. She founded Kurema, Kurema, Kwiga, a social enterprise using street arts to engage civil society in creating positive social change.

Diana Mpyisi

The communication specialist is one of the founding members of Spoken Word Rwanda, a platform dedicated to the growth and nurturing of poetry. Known for its monthly live sessions since 2010 in Kigali, the platform has featured acts embracing poetry, book launches and live music sessions by artists worldwide.

Florianne Kaneza

Originally from Burundi, as a TV and radio documentary fi lmmaker, Kaneza since 2015 settled in Rwanda, where she has been part of film production and events management. Between late 2015 and 2017, Kaneza was administrator for the Mashariki African Film Festival.