ARTICLE: Amahoro II 2015
September 2015, RichMix, Shoreditch
Celebrate Life Events were back at the RichMix, in Shoreditch London, for the second year, after a hugely successful Peace Day event last September. This time they were collaborating with the Burundian as well as the Rwandan Communities in London, once again celebrating peace, hope and forgiveness.
The evening was a dynamic mix, kicking off with the five-piece London Burundian drummers. Their huge drums are made from tree trunks, and resonated throughout the venue with no extra amplification needed - these drums are designed to beat out a message which can be heard from one village to the next! The high jumps, and bright costumes of the drummers set an exciting tone for the night.
Who doesn't love a good story?! After the lively drumming, storyteller Griot Chinyere settled the crowd with a tale specially written for the evening.
Jean-Paul Samputu, a genocide survivor from Rwanda and an international promoter of peace, then took to the stage. He performed twice during the event, bringing everyone to their feet with his high-energy performance and irresistible African rhythms.
Guests were treated to authentic Rwandan cuisine throughout the evening. Performances by Rwandan dance troupe 'Rwaab' displayed the unique Rwandan dance style with grace and fluidity, and Chris Kubwimana from Aurora Deaf Aid Africa represented his charity and their need for support and funding. He spoke in sign language which was translated by a sign language interpreter.
The short film for the evening was shot in Soweto, South Africa, where young students who had attended a Peace Education Programme talked about how their lives had been transformed. The video contained Peace Ambassador Prem Rawat’s message and showed how the attendees of the programme welcomed him into their community with indigenous song and dance. The video was introduced by Patrice Shema, Chairman of the Rwandan Community in the UK.
The finale came from Mudibu and his band rocking the stage with their own brand of soul and blues. The depth and feeling in Mudibu’s voice reaches out with honesty and a vulnerability that is remarkable. The atmosphere was electric and everyone was dancing.
As people left the venue, still buzzing, they were asked to say how they enjoyed the event on camera. The comments show how the event succeeded in bringing people of all nationalities together, presenting a memorable peace-themed evening which had something to suit everyone. Some of those comments are included below:
'It’s great to be involved in the event. I got to understand more about it than last year. I enjoyed everything, I enjoyed the drummers and the dancers.
I hope this happens again next year, and more events like this, because they are needed.’
~ Nina, volunteer
'For me this is my first time to see these things, it was so beautiful. I had just seen the videos on YouTube. It was incredible, amazing.'
~Ismail, young Moroccan
‘What I love about this, is the aspect of peace and reconciliation, because people are walking around with a lot of grief, a lot of baggage, a lot of anger and a lot of deep-rooted hatred for all kinds of reasons, justifiable or not, and to be able to address those things personally in each individual… is great. It’s something that has to be championed. It’s not being done enough - it has to go into the grass roots.'
~Dele Sosimi, Afrobeat Ambassador from Nigeria
'What I can say, is that what today reminds us, is that peace and getting along is possible. To see those artists from Burundi and Rwanda work together and producing something that is wonderful and beautiful reminds us that it’s possible and we should try with everything that we’ve got got, not just where we are standing, but extend it wider.'
~ Jean, young Rwandan
'It was awesome. For me the highlight was seeing the Burundian Community come to share the ideals of peace with the Rwandese. My hope is that for the next event we will open it up to more countries in East Africa.'
~Junior, Youth leader of Rwandan UK Community
Thanks to Demola for the photos.