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Kendrick Lamar thrills fans with Rwanda concert

Fans are raving about rapper Kendrick Lamar’s “extraordinary performance” in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

Wowing fans with hit songs such as She Needs Me, Loyalty and Humble, he was the headliner at the inaugural Move Afrika festival co-created by anti-poverty organisation Global Citizen.

Top Rwandan musicians such as Bruce Melodie and Ariel Wayz also performed.

Lamar’s pgLang company hopes to grow Move Afrika over the next five years into a cross-continental event.

Appearing on stage on Wednesday evening just before Lamar started, President Paul Kagame thanked the organisers. He said it was “a good way of ending the year, with music, with energy, with optimism”.

Rwandan choreographers, along with Rwanda-born Sherrie Silver, joined Lamar onstage dancing traditional moves.

Julienne Kayitesi, 25, told the BBC the concert “was history for me”.

“So many people in the world love Kendrick Lamar, I am now in those who got chance to see him performing live,” she said.

Rwanda has invested heavily in organising and welcoming entertainment and sports events in order to boost tourism and attract investors. It is also an exercise in gaining soft power.

The country has recently hosted international events such as the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the congress of football’s world governing body, Fifa, and the Basketball Africa League.

Critics see this as a canny strategy to improve Rwanda’s image – the country has been criticised by human rights groups for its intolerance of free speech and opposition voices.

Last month, the UK Supreme Court ruled that British government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful as it left people sent there open to human rights breaches.

Global Citizen said Move Afrika hopes to “promote equity” as well as create jobs through employing local artists and crews.

Source: BBC