Debate raises cultural concerns
Thursday evening brought together, among others, leading cultural promoters, journalists and government officials in a brain-storming debate at the Goethe-Institut in Kacyiru.
As Rwanda strives to develop its infrastructure, economy and educational system, a lot of questions have been raised with regard to culture’s growth and protection.
Which position does culture take in the hierarchy of our values, was at the centre of the debate. They wondered, are theatre, music, film or the visual arts still necessary for society and for the people, or is it mere leisure entertainment?
As first observed by Dr Peter Stephan, Director Goethe-Institut, who chaired the discussion, Rwanda’s Vision 2020 doesn’t clearly clarify ‘Cultural protection and preservation’, which raises concern about the country’s stand on cultural preservation.
The panel that consisted Dr Stephan; Odile G. Katese of Rwanda Professional Dreamers; Carole Karemera, Director, Ishyo Arts Centre; Maurice Brouard from the Institut Francais du Rwanda; Arlette Ruyonza from the Ministry of Sports and Culture; and Dr. James Vuningoma, who represented the Minister of Sports and Culture Protais Mitali; sparked off a heated discussion in which crucial points were raised.
They also discussed the bridge between the Ministry of Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Education, with many describing it as loose.
Among the issues brought forward was a reflection of the government’s proposed initiative on laying plans in a bid to improve language and culture, the public too was urged to come together in the culture’s build up.
Stephan cited that contemporary culture in Rwanda is at risk, without enough support from the government, the private sector or the private sector. “I don’t see a good future; they are closing down Ishyo, the Department of Arts and Drama at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) is at risk, we’ve got negative reports from Kigali Institute of Education (KIE), so the government needs to take these signs seriously,” he said.
The debate started at 6:30p.m and ended at 10p.m. It was organised by Goethe-Institut, an international non-profit German cultural association, encouraging cultural exchange and relations.
By Andrew Israel Kazibwe, The New Times
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