A Kigali Christmas TurnUP 

Getting Kigalians into the Christmas vibe has of recent years taken a new direction. A few years back, anyone spending time in Rwanda a week before Christmas Day would momentarily wonder if they were caught up in some time-capsule. Somehow, it seemed like there was a minimal Christmas vibe, without the usual upbeat christmas preparations, music, decor and the obvious clash of shopping maniacs on the streets.  

That is changing. 

More people, especially Christians, are receptive to the idea of a revamped holiday season where, if for the lack of activity, have options to reminiscence on the story that changed history over 2000 years ago. The major and free Christmas Cantata shows in Kigali are staged at Christian Life Assembly every year. 

This year the impact has been felt city-wide, thanks to the stealthy collaboration of various teams of creatives; poets, musicians, actors, dancers, designers, supported by talented sound and lighting technicians, techies and social media enthusiasts. 

This years #Cantata250 is a gift of love to the @City of Kigali as an appreciation of all who have or do not have family to celebrate the season with. A lot is involved with captaining a production of a multitude of talented volunteers as the stakes depend on how the plane takes off and lands. In a brief chat with Mr. Fabrice Nzeyimana, the Creative Arts Director behind the shows, he comments on what drives this initiative.  

Qn. Why organise such a Christmas show in Kigali?

Fabrice: At CLA Rwanda we want to take our call to reach out to the whole man with the love of Christ as serious as we can. We feel the need to preach the message of Christ in the most creative ways we can knowing that we live in times where technology keeps evolving.

Qn. How long did you prepare for this?

Fabrice: It took us more than six months to prepare this show. We started with writing the script first then moved on to different preparations, from auditions, budgeting, stage constructuon, dance choreography, singing and drama rehearsals among several other things. 

Qn. What types or groups of people comprise your team?

Fabrice: In our team we have script writers, actors, dancers, choir, song leaders, Band, Sound and lighting crew, projection team, Video team, photographers, Social media team, Backstage managers. Other services we need are usually provided by other existing teams at CLA.

Qn. What do you think will bring or motivate more creatives in this city to work together for more productions of this magnitude?

Fabrice: I believe we need to first understand the needs of our people and not leave that job to HollyWood. Productions like these are the best tools to communicate a message. For Christians, there is a need to understand that an attitude of excellence is part of the worship experience.

Qn. What are some major challenges you had to hurdle?

Fabrice: The main challenge in a production like this one where we collaborate and partner with volunteers is to find a common ground when it comes to rehearsals but we made sure we started early enough for us to be ready. And of course there were technical challenges while setting up. 

We cannot count the sleepless nights our technical team had to endure for us to get to this kind of quality. I personally have to say that I appreciate them all in a way I cannot express with words.

Qn. What is your message for those who think it's a waste of resources to put up a show like this for free?

Fabrice: Those who think this way should read John 3:16, it is by love that God gave His most precious Son for the salvation of us all, it's by the same love that we give all we have and intend to have to make sure even one soul comes to Christ.

Every night when I see those hands raised to receive salvation our hearts rejoice and a party kicks off in heaven. That is priceless!!!

How would you encourage the Creative who feels like giving up on their talent?

Fabrice: Those talents are God given and one day He will ask for accounts. Manage them well, use them all for God's glory.

Qn. Why should the Christmas season matter?

Fabrice: My simple message with this Christmas #Cantata250 is that Christians in general and CLA particularly, strongly believe that Jesus is at the centre of Christmas. The reason for the season is not only about focusing on titles such as ‘The son of God’, ‘The Prophet’, ‘The Saviour’ or any other title we can give Him but as GOD. Through this production we want to make this bold statement clear enough: ‘This Child Is God!’ This we believe is a non-negotiable truth that is very, very important. 

Photo Credits: CLA Media


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