On Saturday 3rd October 2020, the Rwandan youth living in Perth, Australia launched a Rwandan history and art project, Amateka Series. Amateka Series aims at strengthening Rwandan youth’s personal journey of reconnecting to their Rwandan identity by inviting guests and creating discussions that will inspire Rwandan youth to continue to work together and be more proactive in their community regardless of where they reside.
The launch was done virtually with an insightful panel discussion and a virtual concert by Yvan Burvan. The entire virtual event was followed by around 150 young people from across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Rwanda, East Timor, USA and much more.
During the event, discussions around Rwandan history and art were led by a great panel that included Hope Azeda, Umubyeyi Clotilde, Giramata Amata and Moses Turahirwa. All the panelists shared how they are continuing to honour Rwandan history through the work they are actively doing in their respective backgrounds.
Hope Azeda spoke about the work of Mashirika and how they pull from traditional Rwandan oral histories when creating theatre performances. She left the youth with a message of “To stand out in the world, you need an identity and the only way you can win out there is to have a place where you belong as an individual; it can come through a music performance, clothing, or how you do your art”. The second panelist, Umubyeyi Clotilde, shared about the importance of Rwandan elders and youth coming together to share stories and teachings – “You can’t build your nation successfully without making culture the foundation of every aspect”.
Responding to moderator Anysie Ishimwe’s question on the importance of young people learning about historical Rwandan women?”. Giramata shared the message that “learning about women from the past also helps us tap into the ways we can create legacies and create work that lives beyond us”. The final panelist was Moses Turahirwa and he shared how he continues to dig deeper in understanding and learning about Rwandan traditional craftsmanship. He encouraged everyone who’s in the creative industry to also do the same, as he shared that “It’s our responsibility… to use traditional aspects (of Rwandan history) and then develop our creativity (around it)… it is simply an integral part in preserving history”.
The launch event was a space where young people got a first hand taste of how incredibly rich Rwanda’s history and culture is. Amateka Series has now launched a history program that’s calling upon all Rwandan youth to research on two topics between now and December 2020: Rwanda’s history with storytelling, Rwandan art and fashion throughout history.
The program encourages all Rwandan youth to do their own research on these topics and share it with others by submitting written essays to the Amateka Series platform via the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xsDTeLrUQ9Ym8QxI9qOT0gwU38iqJJpi/view
The launch, concluded with a memorable virtual concert by Yvan Buravan was very well received and supported by The Rwandan Community Abroad in Perth, The Rwanda High Commission in Singapore, MINAFET, Ministry of Youth and Culture. We encourage all Rwandan youth globally to join this movement of re-learning about Rwandan history and culture.
The full recap of the virtual launch of Amateka Series is accessible via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1mRQngjED0&t=5470s