Two primary school pupils from the United States of America will perform at the 2018 Ubumuntu (Humanity) Art festival with the aim of promoting cultural awareness between Rwanda and other global communities.
The Cesar Chavez Middle School students, Zion Bennett and Jose Laguna, will perform a play written by Rwandan students, while Rwandan students will perform “Great Minds Think Alike,” an original Lynwood production co-written by Bennett about overcoming negative thoughts.
They will be among performers from 15 countries, under this year’s theme is “Art and the Path to Resilience” from July 3 – 16, 2018 at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi.
Countries to perform at the festival this year include: Belgium, Burundi, Canada, Egypt, Kenya, Iraq, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa; Sri Lanka, Sweden, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zimbabwe and host- Rwanda.
“This year’s festival will tell stories of overcoming adversity, building resilience and the role of art in this journey and will encourage guests to apply lessons from the performances by being resilient in face of adversity, and promoting humanity,” said Dany Rugamba, the Festival’s Communications Manager.
In promoting humanity, a play written by Abbott Elementary students in the US was performed by Rwandan students at the 2017 festival to rave reviews.
This year, will be the first time Lynwood students have been invited to join the festival, courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda under the District’s Building Relationships and Inspiring Dialogue through Global Exchange (BRIDGE) Theatre Project.
“I’m really excited to learn about the Rwandan culture and to ask them about their language,” Bennett said. “This will be the first time I’ve traveled by plane so it’s a whole new experience for me.”
BRIDGE Theatre Project cofounder, Joe Quintero said the two students will be accompanied by their two teaching artists and two parent chaperones- and the group will get the opportunity to tour the city of Kigali, where the festival is held, and interact with Rwandan students.
“Writing and acting have helped me express myself, I’m interested to ask the students about the effect that it’s had on them. I can’t wait to get to the festival to experience everyone performing.” Laguna said.