**After its suspension due to the Covid restrictions last year, the 8th edition of the Amani festival was back in Goma on Friday, February 4. **
It is a busy period in the city of Goma, eastern DRC. On Friday, the 8th edition of the Amani festival was back. Performances of local and international artists are on the agenda but this year, Congolese rumba will have the place of honor after its the recognition from UNESCO as world's intangible cultural heritage.
A symbol celebrated by spectators like Franck who are even happier to attend the festival following its postponement because of the pandemic. "For us, last year felt like a failed year, a disappointment. We are very happy because the Amani Festival is one of the activities that give life to this population of the East that has been desperate for many years. We have the joy to be together again, especially to come and participate with all the people coming from all over the world "
During three days, there will be shows. The event will also promote peace. A precious gift, which is needed by Goma’s residents who’ve been living under a state of siege more than 7 months.
Promote peaceful cohabitation
Singer Kambale Maliro who goes by the name of W Malick when on stage, is well aware of his mission as an artist performing in Goma: "There are some families who have lost hope, and through the artists who work here in Goma and in the Eastern DRC, we try to convey a message of hope, of change. A message, we hope, will be heard here in DRC and in the whole world will listen."
The festival’s organizers share this firm stance. "The Amani festival aims to make culture a unifying element of peaceful cohabitation, of living together, Guillaume Bismiwa, the director of the festival, explains.We also have an entrepreneurship project, because we think that we cannot talk about peace, if we do not consider the aspect of socio-economic development for the youth"
To enable the largest possible number to receive this message, attendees can take COVID tests at the entrance of the event. Organizers expect some 36,000 will attend the festival this weekend.