The carnival which is billed to mesmerize Kigali will pass through the city’s streets from Monday mid-morning on 11 February and wind up in the early afternoon, said officials from the East Africa Community (EAC) secretariat and Rwanda.
The chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee Mr. Lauren Makuza says more than 500 Festival participants will join thousands of residents as the carnival makes its way from Club Rafiki, Biryogo to Onatracom before proceeding to Institut Français, onto Kigali City Tower and then to the Kigali City Market.
Featuring dazzling costumes and floats and complemented with exuberant East African dance, the carnival party will then head to Nyabugogo (Mutangana House) at the Engen Station, onto Giporoso Square (traffic lights) from where the parade will connect to Gisimenti before finally dancing down to Amahoro Stadium.
After the Regional Steering Committee concluded a tour of the carnival route, EAC’s Principal Sports and Culture Officer Mr. Bakaye Lubega spoke confidently about the first-of-its-kind carnival being a success: “The most important thing in a carnival is a crowd and where we’ve been there is lots of activity,” he said.
He added: “The carnival is the gate to the Festival. It’s not the official opening but we are launching [the festivities]”.
The Festival officially opens on Tuesday 12 February at the Amahoro Stadium.
Jamafest aims to promote regional socio-cultural integration through arts and culture by providing a platform to showcase culture as a primary driver of EAC integration, and is envisaged to be held biennially and hosted by Partner States on a rotational basis.
The Festival sponsors include MTN Rwanda; Brasseries et Limonaderies du Rwanda (BRALIRWA); Inyange Industries; United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); TradeMark East Africa and the French Institute of Rwanda.