Sunday, 14 June 2020

Peace Festival Seeks to Unite Congolese

Congolese Culture. © Google

Musicians gathered this weekend in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, for the Amani Festival, a three-day event that promotes peace in Africa’s Great Lakes region. Tens of thousands of music fans will see artists from around the region perform.

GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — For the third straight year, Goma is playing host to the Amani Festival, an event that brings people of Africa’s Great Lakes region together through music.

The Great Lakes region experienced a rash of violent conflicts over the last 20 years, including the Rwandan genocide, civil war in Burundi and internal and cross-border conflict by armed groups in DRC.

The three-day festival, which began Friday, is named for the Swahili word amani, which means peace.

Festival promoter Eric de Lamotte says he is committed to advancing peace in the community.

“We intend to offer a festive space, allowing people to divert their attention away from everyday problems and the effects of war,” he says. “The people of the Great Lakes region will meet and think about a better shared future.”

There are 36,000 tickets available for the festival.

Kelvin Batumike, a cultural entrepreneur from Goma, says the festival is an opportunity for large-scale advocacy.

“All sections of the population will be represented,” he says. “Artists have the opportunity to express themselves and show that despite the war, Goma is a better place to live.”

Promoter de Lamotte says organizers worked to bring culturally attractive artists who share the same goal of promoting peace and reconciliation through dance and singing. Local artists will perform alongside featured artists from the region, including renowned Senegalese artist Ismaël Lô, Nigerian hip-hop, reggae and soul singer Nneka, Congolese singer Werrason and Zao, a popular Congolese artist and humorist from Brazzaville.

The festival slogan is “Playing for Change, Singing for Peace.”

“We believe that the culture, generally speaking, can become both the expression and the driving force behind a new society,” says de Lamotte. “Change will only come out of peace, unity and sharing.”

•By Ley Nwera

•culled from

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