Impressing fans with chart-topping hits like “She Needs Me,” “Loyalty,” and “Humble,” Kendrick Lamar headlined the inaugural Move Afrika festival, a collaboration with the anti-poverty organization Global Citizen.
The event also showcased stellar performances by esteemed Rwandan musicians, including Bruce Melodie and Ariel Wayz.
With aspirations to expand Move Afrika into a continent-wide spectacle over the next five years, Lamar’s pgLang company envisions a grand cross-continental event.
Taking the stage just before Lamar commenced, President Paul Kagame extended gratitude to the organizers, hailing the event as a “positive conclusion to the year filled with music, vibrancy, and hope.”
Accompanying Lamar onstage, Rwandan choreographers and Rwanda-born Sherrie Silver showcased traditional dance moves.
Julienne Kayitesi, 25, expressed her sentiments to the BBC, calling the concert “a momentous occasion.” “So many people around the world admire Kendrick Lamar, and now I’m fortunate to be among those who witnessed his live performance,” she shared.
Rwanda has made significant investments in hosting various entertainment and sporting events to bolster tourism and attract potential investors, also leveraging it as a means to amplify its soft power.
In recent times, the country has successfully hosted international gatherings like the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, FIFA’s congress, and the Basketball Africa League.
However, critics perceive these endeavors as a calculated strategy to revamp Rwanda’s image, which has drawn criticism from human rights groups for curbing free speech and opposing viewpoints.
The UK Supreme Court’s recent ruling against British government plans to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda, citing potential human rights violations, was a significant development.
Global Citizen emphasized Move Afrika’s ambition to “advance fairness” while generating job opportunities by engaging local artists and production crews.