The streets of Temeke Municipality were filled with live music, drums, cheers and dances as six East African Community (EAC) nations graced the streets with rich traditional extravaganza.
From Tandika to the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, people got to witness a carnival that marked the first day of the 4th Edition of the EAC Arts and Culture Festival dubbed Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (JAMAFEST) which opened yesterday.
“This is the celebrations of the glorious resilience of these (EAC) nations’ cultures;” the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Harrison Mwakyembe said as he received the carnival at the Uhuru Stadium.
It was a day in which people witnessed the graceful angel-like dance from Rwanda; drums that made hearts of the audience beat to their rhythms with a performance that left mouths wide open in bewilderment from Uganda. Burundi played their drums excellently while on their heads.
It was a carnival that shook the streets. As he welcomed and congratulated the travelling participants from EAC to Tanzania Mwakyembe said; “Even though you have travelled but you are still at home.
You are all home away from home.” “All who have participated in the carnival celebrating the rich African traditions have imprinted a memory in the minds of the spectators, who witnessed you in the streets of Dar es Salaam,” he remarked as he congratulated them.
“The festival that will be celebrated for over a week is not only to strengthen the integration of EAC but also to celebrate the victory of our cultures and traditions. After all the colonial oppressions, our culture and traditions have triumphed and survived to this day,” he said.
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He further said; “Today (yesterday) we have opened the doors for the festival with a bang, but tomorrow (today) is the official launch of JAMAFEST that will be graced by the presence of Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan.”
Mwakyembe also noted that, six EAC nations have met but all are speaking the same language, and that is Kiswahili.
He urged Tanzanians to turn up in large numbers to come witness the great cultures that the six nations greatly cherish.
“It is free to attend and suitable for the entire family as it is packed with a variety of exhibitions and an animal zoo, where kids can enjoy as well,” he said.
Addressing the crowd that came to witness the carnival in Kiswahili was the Minister of Culture and Gender of Uganda Peace Motunzo, who said that the EA federation is a fact and is real.
“The cheapest and only way in which you can federate without spending money is through culture. The drums bring us closer and together.
We have demonstrated this not once but four times, and in all occasions we have felt closer despite of the colonial boundaries,” “We are one and the same, and culture brings exactly that unity.
Together we make progress, federation stronger, and together we shall make Africa remain as one,” she asserted as she thanked all the participants and the entire audience.
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