Rwanda's first female drumming troupe and first ice-cream store featured on Al Jazeera English
To mark its 10th anniversary, Al Jazeera is updating some of its most memorable documentaries to find out what happened next. This Thursday, as part of this Rewind series, Al Jazeera will re-broadcast excerpts from Sweet Dreams, its inspiring documentary about playwright Odile ‘Kiki’ Katese, who brought together women from both sides of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, first in 2005 to form Rwanda’s first female drumming troupe, Ingoma Nshya, and then in 2010 to open Inzozi Nziza (Sweet Dreams), the country’s first ice-cream store, in Butare. The second part of the programme features an interview with Katese, in which she talks about the impact of the documentary Sweet Dreams, which has brought tourists to the ice-cream shop and led to the drumming troupe touring the world, from Ethiopia to Switzerland, the UK to the USA.
Katese says that Rwanda has indeed entered the “new era” she dreamt of in the documentary. “Rwanda has changed a lot, even in terms of division and conflict and everything. Now we are really working for peace and reconciliation and unity and harmony and tolerance.”
She says the cultural position of women, in particular, has shifted after the genocide. “The genocide really transformed their lives because they became after the genocide active members of society. They didn’t have a choice; they didn’t make that choice but they had to play that role because of the genocide. Now the current government understands they can’t just exclude the women in the process of development…; they have to really focus on the women. This is the new chapter. And culturally, the women drumming is really a new chapter, where they become pioneers and change the way women are seen in Rwanda, that they can be so powerful and strong and active and positive actors of change.”
After the short documentary premiered on Al Jazeera in 2010, a feature-length version of Sweet Dreams went on to win three international awards during its festival run and place in the top ten for the prestigious IDFA Audience Award in 2012. The New York Times called it “a nuanced and deftly edited film about a complex issue;’” The Village Voice said it was “utterly rousing… completely wrenching;” and The Hollywood Reporter praised it as “a rare uplifting story from a country that has seen more than its share of brutality and heartache.”
The documentary was co-directed by award-winning siblings Lisa and Rob Fruchtman.
Rewind: Sweet Dreams screens on Al Jazeera English on Thursday, 8 December at 1630 GMT / 1830 CAT. After it airs, the programme will be available to embed from YouTube.
Watch and embed the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0-IadeGm4E .
Al Jazeera went on to feature Katese and Ingoma Nshya in their Hear the Human Story advertising campaign in 2014, featured on billboards, newspaper and TV ads in twelve countries including South Africa, UK and Australia. Watch and embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auxbbkvFNVU .