Mashirika | Africa's Hope

Saturday 21.07.2018
running time:
75 min
IMPART, Mazowiecka 17

35*/ 40 PLN

Main programme

A leading theatre group from Kigali under the supervision of director Hope Azeda has made art a tool of social transformation and reconciliation. Their play Africa’s Hope is based on the accounts of Rwandan genocide witnesses and also has a therapeutic dimension.  

Your past is like a shadow, which will always accompany you, says the director and founder of Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company – Hope Azeda – who believes in the healing power of theatre and art in general. Today Rwanda raises itself from the social collapse caused by the consequences of the 1994 conflict, when extremists of Hutu origin murdered hundreds of thousands of Tutsi fellow citizens. Today both groups still live side by side, trying to organize their lives anew in their shared country. Africa’s Hope premiered in 2004 during the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. The play staged at the national stadium in Kigali with the participation of a thousand actors and extras was watched by an audience of 25,000. Since the premiere, the play (performed by a team of several members) has been staged many times around the country, in the public areas of small towns and villages. It has also been performed at the G8 World Summit in Edinburgh in 2005.

The play was prepared on the basis of accounts of both the victims of the genocide in Rwanda and their oppressors. It was made by actors who through their acting also work on their own traumas associated with that event. As they say, they speak to a beast which lives in every one of us and can be freed not only in Rwanda, but also in a different place and time. This is a story dense with emotions and due to personal links of the participants of the show with the genocide of 1994, each performance is difficult, each time it touches the audience in a different way. Africa’s Hope combines true stories of the survivors with traditional and modern theatrical forms, and modern dance appears together with songs sung in the ruanda-rundi (kinyarwanda) language with east-African drums. One of the main characters is played by Eliane Umuhire, the actress known from Joanna Kos-Krauze`s film Birds are singing in Kigali, which will also be presented at Brave Festival.

Hope Azeda – the originator and artistic director of the Mashirika group – graduated with a degree in theatrical education from the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Her work as director, performer and teacher has led her to theatres and universities all over the world. She has been, among other things, an artist-in-residence at the Arts and Civic Dialogue in Cambridge (Massachusetts) and worked with the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. She also works as a casting director in the African film industry.