The fifth edition of the EAC Art and Cultural Festival, dubbed JAMAFEST, came to a close on Friday, September 9 at the Intwari Stadium with different cultural performances from Partner States’ cultural troupes.
The seven-day festival attracted more than 2,000 participants from the seven EAC Partner States. The participants included performing artists, exhibitors, culture professionals/ academicians, students, administrators, civil society organizations, and the private sector involved in the art and culture sector activities.
In addition, the festival featured a symposium of culture professionals and researchers to dialogue on selected sub-themes including adopting new regional languages in the EAC, role of modern technologies in advancing cultural expression and arts, indigenous knowledge and traditional medicine; arts, industry and tourism, youth participation and employment, research, innovation and investment in arts and culture, and inclusion of marginalised populations (indigenous communities, PWDs, women, older persons).
Speaking at the closure of the festival, Burundi’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of EAC Affairs, Youth, Sports and Culture Severin Mbarubukeye said that the theme of the fete, "Harnessing the Cultural Resources to mitigate the Impact of COVID-19 in the East African Community” was instructive and timely.
Marubukeye urged Partner States to always use JAMAFEST as a platform to showcase the phenomenal rich culture and heritage in the region.
“We can all agree that the potential for monetisation of our rich culture and heritage is unparalleled,” he said.
The PS disclosed that the festival had had a significant impact on the lives of thousands of Burundians who witnessed cultural diversity in the region.
“We as Burundians are so proud to have you around for the past seven days. I have a strong feeling that you enjoyed being here as much as we enjoyed having you,” said Mbarubukeye.
On her part, the Director of Social Sectors at the EAC Secretariat, Dr. Irene Isaka said the goal of the festival was to bring East Africans together (artists, practitioners, policymakers, traditional custodians of culture, leaders and ordinary citizens) to interact and share their common cultural heritage through art and culture in order to foster social cohesion and unity amongst the people of the region.
Dr. Isaka, who spoke on behalf of the EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki, said that the goal of East Africans is to work towards a culturally integrated region whose overriding agenda is to promote and celebrate its diverse Cultural Heritage, improve the living conditions of its people and to facilitate free movement of citizens across borders in fulfillment of the dreams and ambitions of EAC citizens.
“On behalf of the EAC Secretariat, we are delighted to note that with each edition of JAMAFEST, the desired objective of the regional festival is being fulfilled,” said Dr. Isaka.
Dr. Isaka commended the youth from all the Partner States who participated wholeheartedly in the festival, adding that the youth put forward their best performances right from the opening ceremony especially a thrilling performance by an acrobatic troupe from Tanzania and the young drummers from Burundi.