Rwanda: Local Artistes Body Seeks Legal Status

Rwanda Arts Council (RAC), the umbrella organisation that groups together local artistes, has petitioned parliament to support their efforts to secure legal status.

The body was formed in 2016 in an effort to align their operations with the government policy.

Now, the body says that for the past one year their request for legal status has fallen on deaf ears which continues to discourage people from joining it and hence stifling the industry's growth.

Their request for legal status, according to the president of RAC, Ferdinand Munezero, is also informed by their inability to efficiently carry out their activities and services.

"We are requesting for legal status because it is then that Rwandan artistes will value the organisation. Currently, they don't feel obliged to join the body," he said.

Last year, the Ministry of Sports and Culture received a letter from the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture denying RAC legal status until 2022.

Munezero emphasises that the lack of legal status influences industry players to join other organisations that don't even cater for their interests.

"In most cases, you can't convince an artiste to come and seek for services from an organisation without a legal status and this affects the economic development of the artiste and the industry," he explained.

The Legal Representative of Rwanda Music Federation, Intore Jean de Dieu Tuyisenge, said: "We have all been wanting to have an organisation which will cater for our needs".

He added that the legal status would go a long way in fighting vices in the industry such as piracy and other copyright violations.

The Chairperson of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Technology and Culture, Damien Nyabyenda, commended RAC for the good work it has done so far, particularly playing a critical role in preserving the Rwandan culture through art.

He promised that parliament will discuss the organisation's request and then make recommendations.

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