24 February 2013

Rwanda: Opening of Fespad Rained Out

Saturday was the opening day of Fespad, the Pan African Dance Festival. It started off as planned at Amahoro National Stadium.

Doors opened at three and by five there were several thousand people waiting for the main event to begin. Expecting dance performances from across Africa, fireworks and a live concert by Beanie Man, the general mood was good. But then an ominous cloud showed up on the horizon threatening rain. Just before six the rain hit the stadium, forcing the crowd to take shelter.

This was no regular storm; it was the kind of storm you might expect to see at the end of the world. Winds were howling, lightning kept striking, the rain even turned into hail at one point, leaving the ground strewn with little balls of ice. When the storm finally passed the damage was stupendous. The banners had been torn down, decorations tipped over, the stage's awning torn half off.

Almost immediately people started to leave, but it took another thirty minutes for the staff to get the announcement system running officially tell everyone it was cancelled and rescheduled for Sunday. Let's just hope next time it won't be a tornado.

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