KIGALI, Rwanda, /PRNewswire/ — The first ever Move Afrika event, held December 6th in Kigali, was unlike any live show Rwanda has seen before. A light-filled, sold-out BK Arena hosted Move Afrika: Rwanda, a spectacular night of music, culture, and advocacy that took East African entertainment to new heights and will be remembered for years to come as the birth of the first pan-African touring circuit for international artists.
Created by international advocacy organisation Global Citizen and creative imprint, pgLang, alongside the Rwanda Development Board, the inaugural Move Afrika: Rwanda show was headlined by Grammy Award, Pulitzer Prize winning artist Kendrick Lamar, and showcased the best African artists, creators and entertainers to the world. With every facet of the event’s production driving local economic investment, skill training and youth entrepreneurship, the first Move Afrika concert signalled the launch of a five-year incremental tour schedule that will pioneer a world-class music touring circuit across the continent, changing the face of live entertainment in Africa.
Bruce Melodie opened the night with an energetic performance that included his smash hits ‘Katerina’, ‘When She’s Around’ and ‘Henzapu.’ Rwandan poet Fred Mfuranzima treated the audience to a spoken word performance of his moving poem, ‘The Unstoppable Sea’.
H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, took the stage, saying “There are many things we can address together. Working together, our continent stands strong and can address most of our challenges. We are looking forward to hosting global citizens every year, here in Kigali, through Move Afrika. I hope you feel at home, all of you, and I hope to see you again in the near future.”
Zuchu burst onto the stage with a high octane performance of her hits, including ‘Kwikwi’, ‘Honey’ and ‘Utaniua.’ Sherrie Silver brought the arena to life with more than 40 young singers, dancers and breakdancers from the Sherrie Silver Foundation, taking the audience on an unforgettable journey through Rwandan dance culture. DJ TOXXYK and Ariel Wayz teamed up for a medley of hits, including ‘Tattoo’ and ‘You Should Know’, and Ariel Wayz surprised the crowd by bringing out Rwandan rappers Kivumbi King and Bruce The 1st to collaborate on ‘Demo.’
Kendrick Lamar brought the sold out crowd to their feet for an unforgettable headline performance, with a setlist that spanned his full catalogue, performing with local Rwandan dancers on ‘Blacker The Berry,’ ‘Count Me Out’ and ‘Savior.’
“Global Citizen and pgLang launched Move Afrika to pioneer a first-of-its-kind international music touring circuit throughout the continent of Africa. We are honored to be hosting the first event here in Kigali at the BK Arena,” said Hugh Evans, Co-Founder & CEO, Global Citizen. “This is just the beginning. The real work starts tomorrow. Thank you for being on this journey to Move Afrika.”
Move Afrika: Rwanda show highlights and performances will form part of a broadcast special, to be released worldwide in early 2024.
Move Afrika: Rwanda, in association with global production company Done and Dusted and the Rwanda Events Group, employed more than 1000 Rwandans, and engaged 75 percent local crew and production staff, with a specific focus on creating opportunities for skill development and international event training, including:
- Set and Stage: The Move Afrika: Rwanda set and stage design was created by Stufish in close collaboration with local artist Dolph Banza. Together they created a set evoking traditional Kitenge fabric designs.
- Nyamirambo Women’s Center: Traditional Agaseke peace baskets, created by 20 artisans from the Nyamirambo Women’s Center, were repurposed to hang across the stage as dynamic lighting fixtures, creating the centrepiece feature of the Move Afrika: Rwanda stage and showcasing Rwandan creative excellence to the world.
- Broadcast production: Rwandan film crew Addictive Vibe shot the behind the scenes segments, and graphic design company Guez Show created the video packaging.
- Crew, rigging and security: Through an on-site skill-training partnership between Rwanda Events Group with globally leading riggers from Unusual Rigging, a new, larger capacity ceiling rig was installed in the BK Arena for maximised audience experience. Additionally, world-class security training was provided to 15 event supervisors and managers by Behavioural Detection Observation (BDO).
- Backing dancers and singers: Over 70 local singers and dancers participated on the Move Afrika: Rwanda stage, with additional dancers and choreographers contributing to the international broadcast program that will be released early next year. Dancers from the Sherrie Silver Foundation performed alongside Kendrick Lamar during his headline set. Many of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds and impoverished communities, and have used their talents and creativity to lift their families out of poverty.
- Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator: Move Afrika partnered with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in Kigali to recruit, train and upskill 35 young people aged between 18-25, who received on site training and shadowed event teams through the project to gain work experience at a world-class live music event.
- Filmmakers masterclass: 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 is building upon these collaborations 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, 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.”
With a dedicated focus on investing in young Rwandans who are strengthening their country, Move Afrika: Rwanda provided over 4000 free tickets to young people, including:
- Over 500 Rwandan youth, NGOs, civil society workers, who joined Umuganda efforts to plant more than 1000 trees on Mount Rebero last month;
- 30 community healthcare workers attended to highlight the campaign’s focus on health equity and access across Rwanda;
- 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;
- Local and regional fashion designers were featured as part of a three-day pop-up fashion market during Move Afrika: Rwanda show week, generating economic opportunities for local creatives, fostering job creation, and promoting cultural integration through the vibrant tapestry of African fashion and design.
“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.
Partners of Move Afrika include pgLang, the Rwanda Development Board and TimesLive. The event is supported by BK Arena.
Move Afrika: A Global Citizen Experience forms part of a new long-term, large-scale effort to pioneer a first-of-its-kind international music touring circuit throughout the continent of Africa, with pgLang serving as the tour’s curator. In partnership with the Rwanda Development Board, Kigali, Rwanda will host Move Afrika every year for the next five years. Each year, additional countries will be added to the tour schedule, which aims to expand to five countries by 2025. Producing a world-class experience for fans and artists alike, Move Afrika will set a new gold-standard for entertainment touring events, increasing demand from international and regional artists to tour in the region and building local capacity within host cities across the continent.
Move Afrika builds on Global Citizen’s previous campaigns and events across the continent that include: Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, which brought Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran, Usher, Eddie Vedder and Chris Martin of Coldplay to Johannesburg, South Africa in 2018; Global Citizen Live: Lagos that featured Davido, Femi Kuti, and Tiwa Savage at Fela Kuti’s New Afrika Shrine in 2021; and Global Citizen Festival: Accra, which brought Usher, SZA, Stormzy, and TEMS to the iconic Black Star Square in 2022.
Move Afrika is 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.
Global Citizen is grateful for the support of leading media companies including: AIM Group, Arena Holdings, Bella Naija, City Radio, Eagle Production, Ltd., EIB Network, Radio 1, Radio Flash, Royal FM, The New Times, UpScale Media, Vanguard Media and Zikoko.
For more information visit moveafrika.org.
SOURCE Global Citizen