In conversation with Shabani Ramadhani

Shabani Ramadhani is seen smiling at the camera. On the left is the Amahoro logo.

The Burundian festival director Shabani Ramadhani visited Stuttgart in November.

In conversation with Burundian musician and festival director Shabani Ramadhani, we learned more about the Marahaba Music Expo and the importance of culture for collaboration.

SEZ: AMAHORO Shabani, can you briefly introduce yourself?

Shabani Rhamadani: I am Shabani Ramadhani, a passionate artist and activist fighting for health rights. My goal is to encourage youth after the war. I have participated and performed in various musical projects and festivals in different countries. Because of my musical abilities, I was also a music teacher at Marahaba Art Center (MAC). I am also the founder of Marahaba Music Expo.

SEZ: What is Marahaba Music Expo and what was your motivation for starting Marahaba? What does Marahaba mean?

Shabani Rhamadani: Marahaba is Swahili and means “well done” or “hurrah”. The Marahaba Music Expo is a non-profit organization based in Bujumbura, Burundi. She is committed to educating the public, sharing innovations, and fostering collaboration through music and art. It was founded in 2018 to give hope to the youth. The organization's vision is a peaceful and vibrant Burundi. Their mission is to create innovation and creativity for a happy country. Our organization works in these areas:

  • and the Music festival: This international music forum takes place every two years. It aims to promote dialogue between artists from Africa and other parts of the world. The Expo includes workshop programs, discussions, lectures and stage performances. Since its inception, five festivals have taken place, bringing about an artistic revolution in the music and creative industries in Burundi. More than 5000 local artists have benefited from the founding of this respected organization.
  • Education: Our organization runs the Marahaba Arts Center, where young women and men in Bujumbura can learn more about art, creativity and music. Our goal is to reduce the number of young people on the streets by giving them good training and a good sense of entrepreneurship. To this end, the Marahaba Center runs various programs that strengthen the skills of young women and men and teach them how they can become entrepreneurs through art and music.
  • Entrepreneurship for female artists: Our organization has supported female artists by giving them the opportunity to participate in artistic and social activities. Because the artists advocate for gender equality, they inspire other women.

SEZ: You were in Germany in mid-November: What was the occasion and how was your experience?

Shabani Rhamadani: I'm in favor of the film premiere of the short documentary "Facing new realities – How climate change is affecting the heart of Africa“, which took place in Stuttgart on November 9th. It was a very good experience for me as it was my first time in this city. During my visit I had the opportunity to meet various actors in Stuttgart's cultural sector.

SEZ: How can culture and music help bring people together, especially people from Baden-Württemberg and Burundi?

Shabani Rhamadani: Culture and music are a good way to bring people together and improve cooperation between Baden-Württemberg and Burundi. Because music and culture bring peace for everyone. They can also help convey various messages, such as climate protection or strengthening the engagement of young people.

SEZ: How can people follow and support your work?

Shabani Rhamadani: Any person, institution or organization is welcome to contact and collaborate with us. Anyone interested in supporting our work can reach us via the following channels: www.marahabafestival.com, info@marahabafestival.com or my phone number +25768475873.

SEZ: What are your wishes for the future?

Shabani Rhamadani: Our wish is to continue the cooperation between the city of Stuttgart and Burundi. We can achieve a lot through culture and music. It is also valuable when experiences are shared through exchange and collaboration between artists and festivals from both regions.

MUNA HASSABALLAH

Partnership work by AMAHORO! Country partnership between BW & Burundi

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