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African Events Ottawa – No Limit Awards (Gihanga Edition)

There’s a saying that says: “Patriotism is the secret resource of a successful society”. Coming out from one of Canada’s iconic politicians’ mouth, Michael Ignatieff, it speaks truth, as when you think about it, all societies built themselves from a mentality based on patriotism, not division. It even gets better when that feeling brings two separate sovereign states, together, to get a more successful, united and stronger society.

From that thinking movement, three young people, originally from Rwanda and Burundi, came up with that idea to create an annual award show. Although taking place far from their motherland, African events like these, here in Ottawa, would be able to bring their countrymen in celebrating, on the one hand, our culture, and on the other hand, our membership to this land of welcome we chose to settle in and let our hidden talents slowly grow.

About No Limit Awards

No Limit Awards is, as its name reveals it, an award show brought up by three artists named Jean-Luc, Lithiana and Peace, created with the vision to bring different forms of art into one project. Each of them evolving in the artistic field, specifically in fashion, music and dance, had a goal to bring awareness to the community leaders and what they had to offer.

By launching this African event, their mission is to encourage the youth to follow their dreams and to give them a platform that can allow them to express themselves, be creative and own their identity. And that platform in question is an award show that would recognize the work that many key people in our communities do but goes unnoticed.

No Limit Awards provides a large networking opportunity for the entertainment industry, a central way to join, among others, artists, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, creative directors and photographers, serving as an inspiration to the African youth based in Canada’s capital city and around.

A small glimpse of history and context

Rwanda and Burundi are two small landlocked and neighboring countries situated in Central Africa, east to DRC, south to Uganda and west to Tanzania, with a very similar area and density, culture, population, language and ethnic makeup. Both colonized by Belgium, they gained their independence on the same date, same year, basically making them almost identical twin siblings. However, way before colonization, the legend says that they used to be one state before both Rwanda and Burundi traced their path and split into two kingdoms.

Things the participants enjoyed

Before going to the most important part, I first want to give a big shout out to the organization team for having thought about such an event, promoting one of Africa’s most beautiful cultures–and of course I’m not biased writing this–and providing to us, Rwandese and Burundian diaspora members an occasion to get together and enjoy each other’s presence. The venue was also well-chosen, centrally located in downtown Ottawa.

First thing I enjoyed were the dance performances presented by Indashyikirwa (pronounced IN-DASHIKI-RGWA, thank me later), one of Ottawa’s Rwandese dance troop composed of both men and women, and Ishaka, a Burundian dance group also based in Ottawa, solely composed of women. The way those two groups enchant you whenever they dance and made us, spectators, travel all the way to Rwanda-Urundi HAS BEEN a huge turn on as soon as they started dancing at the beginning of the night.

Second thing I enjoyed were the fashion shows exposing Rwandese and Burundian beauty, because as the Fresh Prince liked to say, Gihanga’s women are “a piece of good God wrapped in some have mercy with a side of mmm!” Anyway back to the topic, several designers made us happy by showing us their beautiful collections they must have spent a long time thinking of, ranging from Western to African print. Because the way I wanted to renew my whole wardrobe after each show, says it all: their collections are and looked booomb!!

Third thing, and not the least, are the singing performances. You know when you hear “mesmerizing voice”, that’s what I’m talking about, and I’m not being extra! Those performances were sung in Swahili, Kirundi and English in such a relaxing voice, I wouldn’t mind hearing them for the rest of my life.

The ones to whom the event was aimed to

…or if you prefer the awards’ recipients vary widely in age as well as the artistic field they perform into.

To name a few, there were:

  • Mutabaruka, founder and CEO of the TAP Magazine, won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • DJ Waklexx, as his stage name says is a DJ based in Montreal and the 2018 DJ of the Year Award’s recipient.
  • Godwin, photographer based in Ottawa, won the Photographer of the Year Award. Aged of 18 years old, he is the youngest nominee to have won an award.
  • Indashyikirwa, a Rwandese dance troop based in Ottawa, won the Dance Group Award.
  • Ishaka Cultural Group, a Burundian dance troop also based in Ottawa, won the Female Dance Group Award

Things to be improved for the next edition

The tickets being sold for $35, it would have been well thought to provide hors-d’œuvre and drinks free of additional fees. As specified earlier, No Limit Awards is supposed to provide a networking opportunity to the youth and if more time was provided to the events’ participants to network with the awards’ recipients would have also been appreciated, but we ran out of time at the end as we were invited to leave the venue few minutes after the event ended because the room was booked until a specific time.

How useful the event was for me and others

As we all get caught up in Canada’s busy life proper to all Western countries, I was very pleased to attend that event as it served as an occasion to see our fellow countrymen and to empower each other. Seeing these awesome performances and talents’ holders reminded me how rich is our culture, as we witness the dances, music, creativity.

No Limit Awards is an event held with the aim to recognize the Rwandese and Burundian diaspora youth’s talents, especially those distinguishing themselves by their sense of creativity, altruism and entrepreneurship. No Limit is a simple statement that shows who the youth are and what it has.

Again, huge thanks to you, Jean-Luc, Lithiana aka DJ TYTY, Peace and No Limit’s organization team, for all the time you devoted to make of this event a success. Hope more will be inspired by your work, and I’m eager to attend the next edition to be held next year.

Steve Rutikara

2 Comments

  1. Hello there! Great articles!
    i have always wanted to visit africa with all the different cultures and things
    maybe some day i will have a chance.Your articles make me want to go even more.Thank you for sharing
    cheers, Laurie

    • Hello Laurie! Thank you very much for reading me.
      It’s never too late to discover a new place, especially in our era where it is becoming cheaper to travel around the world. For example, you can find plane tickets from the U.S. to Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa for as low as $500-600. I’ll post more articles on travel tips to go to Africa for as cheap as possible. I hope you’ll get the chance to read them when they’ll be out.

      Cheers, Steve 🙂

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