The Culture Joint

#MoveAfrika: Kendrick Lamar, Zuchu, others change the game for live entertainment in Rwanda

Kendrick Lamar_Global Citizen_by Greg Noire_GN_08366-Enhanced-NR

Move Afrika: Rwanda,’ a first-of-its-kind international music touring circuit throughout the continent of Africa, was held in Kigali’s BK Arena on Dec. 6 to a sold-out audience of 8,000 people.

The first Move Afrika concert is the launch of a five-year tour schedule aimed at pioneering world-class music and live entertainment across the African continent, in an effort to inject jobs and skills training into local economies.

Move Afrika: Rwanda, organized by pgLang in partnership with Grammy Award-winning artist Kendrick Lamar, included a week of culture, music and advocacy.

A significant role was also played by the Rwanda Development Board in supporting the event.

Move Afrika’s mission is to end extreme poverty across the continent by developing local economies, driving health equity, prioritizing youth entrepreneurship, and skills training. 

People from all walks of life benefit from a strong economy because it reduces poverty and improves living standards at every level. The UNDP estimates that 48.8% of Rwanda’s population lives in extreme poverty and 22% are vulnerable to its impacts. 

Improving health and livelihoods, particularly of women and girls, helps communities thrive and is essential to driving economic growth in countries.

With the help of initiatives like Move Afrika, opportunities for human development are enabling the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to break free from poverty.

Move Afrika: Rwanda, in association with global production company Done + Dusted and the Rwanda Events Group, employed more than 1,000 Rwandans, and engaged 75% local crew and production staff, with a specific focus on creating opportunities for skill development and international event training. 

This included training in Set and Stage development created by Stufish in close collaboration with local artist Dolph Banza and broadcast production and Crew, in addition to event rigging and security skills training and development.  

Traditional Agaseke peace baskets, made by 20 artisans from the Nyamirambo Women’s Center, were repurposed as lighting fixtures across the stage during Move Afrika: Rwanda, creating the focal point of the stage and showing Rwandan creativity to the world.

Over 70 local singers and dancers also participated on the Move Afrika: Rwanda stage, with additional dancers and choreographers. Dancers from the Sherrie Silver Foundation performed alongside Kendrick Lamar during his headline set, many from communities that were experiencing hardship. 

The campaign also partnered with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in Kigali to recruit, train, and upskill 35 young people who received on-site training to gain work experience at a world-class live music event. 

More than 15 filmmakers participated in a marketing and social media masterclass, in collaboration with the Rwanda Film Office and Rwanda Development Board, which provided critical tools to amplify local stories.

As part of its five-year commitment to Rwanda, Move Afrika will continue to collaborate to generate long-term opportunities for local entrepreneurs and foster long-term partnerships that pave the way for more international artists to perform in Rwanda.

“We see this event as just the start of a promising journey for our industry,” said Christian Gakwaya, CEO, of Rwanda Events Group, a primary Move Afrika: Rwanda vendor. “With our talented crew and creative minds, coupled with increased international shows and further investments in equipment and skills, we can for sure take our rightful place as global leader in events.”

“We know what it’s like to not have access, so we wanted to ensure that young people from across Rwanda had the opportunity to experience the first Move Afrika event in Kigali,” said pgLang. 

Each year, additional countries will be added to the tour schedule, which aims to expand to five African countries by 2025.

Move Afrika: Rwanda provided over 4,000 free tickets to the event, with 500 dedicated to Rwandan young people, NGOs, and civil society workers who last month met on Umuganda — the last Saturday of every month when Rwandans come together for nationwide community service — to plant more than 1,000 trees on Mount Rebero. 

Thirty community healthcare workers were also in attendance at the event to help drive home the campaign’s focus on health equity and access across Rwanda. 

Almost 200 young people aged between 16-21 from four districts were provided an all-expenses-paid trip for a front-of-stage Move Afrika experience, courtesy of pgLang.

The Move Afrika: Rwanda show week featured local and regional fashion designers as part of a pop-up show, showcasing the best in African fashion and design from the region. 

Move Afrika was supported by Aflimba, African Food Fellowship, Amahoro Builders, Blue Oceans, Chancen International, Dukataze SAYE Company Ltd., EcoRota Rwanda, Future First Kenya, Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology, Safi Life, SmallStepsEveryday, Solid’Africa, Rwanda Development Organisation, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Inkomoko, Partners In Health, Restless Development, Rising Above the Storms (RAS), Rotary International, The Green Protector, YouthConnekt Africa Hub, Westerwelle Foundation, and Ineza Umuhoza Grace, Co-Founder of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition and 2023 Global Citizen Prize winner. 

It’s never been more crucial for the world to take action against climate change, global hunger, gender inequality, diminishing civic spaces, and the systemic issues that keep people trapped in poverty. 

Add your voice to the movement and join Global Citizen on the mission to end extreme poverty and drive solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

The Culture Joint