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Rwandan government suspends organisers of Miss Rwanda Pageant following allegations of sexual abuse of contestants

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The Rwandan government has suspended the organisers of the Miss Rwanda Beauty Pageant following several allegations of sexual abuse of contestants.

The country’s Minister of Youths and Culture, Rose Mary Mbabazi, who gave the suspension order on Tuesday, said that the Rwanda Inspiration Backup which is the official body that organises the event, has also been barred from going ahead with the preparations for the 2022 edition of the pageant.

Mbabazi further revealed that her ministry in conjunction with the Rwanda Culture Heritage Academy will consider looking for a new organizer for the event.

The Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Inspiration Backup, Dieudonne Ishimwe, has also been arrested and is undergoing investigations over the sexual abuse of several contestants and other allegations of sexual misconducts.

Ishimwe who was first arrested last month by the police, is now facing three charges including rape, soliciting sexual favors, and sexual harassment.

Local media reports indicated that at least four girls who contested in the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant in 2021 had accused Ishimwe of sexually abusing them leading to his arrest.

A state investigator was also quoted as saying that Ishimwe “is suspected of sexual abuse charges towards Miss Rwanda contestants on different occasions.”

If convicted, Ishimwe faces a 15-year jail term because under Rwandan laws, ‘sexual abuse or pushing any individual into sex acts by force, threats, trickery or by use of authority over that person’ is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Culture

First ever African Fashion exhibition debuts in the UK Saturday

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The first ever African Fashion exhibition which has been touted to be UK’s most extensive exhibition of African fashion artistry is set to debut in London on Saturday, July 2, according to the show organisers.

The epoch making African Fashion event which is aimed at showcasing designers from the black continent, as well as exoose Africa’s diverse heritage and cultures, which will open at London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, is also the country’s first exhibition dedicated to the medium.

Apart from the fashion show, there will also be an exhibition are African objects, sketches, photos and film from across the continent, starting from the African liberation years in the 1950s to 1980s to up-and-coming contemporary designers, according to the event organizers.

The project curator, Elisabeth Murray, in a statement, said the scene is set with a section on “African Cultural Renaissance”, highlighting protest posters and literature from independence movements that developed in conjunction with fashion.

“The Vanguard is the central attraction, displaying iconic works by well-known African designers including Niger’s Alphadi, Nigeria’s Shade Thomas-Fahm and Kofi Ansah of Ghana.

“Over 250 objects are on display for the African Fashion exhibition, with approximately half of these drawn from the museum’s collection, including 70 new acquisitions.

“Many of the garments on show are from the personal archives of a selection of iconic mid-twentieth century African designers with one of the highlight being the centre-piece made by Moroccan fashion designer Artsi Ifrach, called “A Dialogue Between Cultures” which was Inspired by the British trench coat and headscarf,” Murray said.

“The conversations and collaborations that have shaped the making of the Africa Fashion exhibition are a testbed for new equitable ways of working together that allow us to imagine and call into being the V&A of the future,” she added.

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Culture

Germany to return prized artefacts stolen from Africa during colonial rule

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The German government has agreed to return prized artefacts stolen from Aftican countries, particularly from Cameroon, Namibia and Tanzania, during the colonial times over 120 years ago, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The priceless artefacts which were looted by the German colonial government officials during the colonial era will be permanently returned to their original countries, the Foundation officials said.

The Berlin-based Heritage Foundation which manages museums based in the German capital said it had entered into negotiations on the returns of artefacts to their countries of origin.

According to the Heritage Foundation, some of the artefacts to be returned are a shell-studded statue of a mother goddess named Ngonnso, which holds “great spiritual significance for the Nso’ people of northwest Cameroon.”

The statue, according to the Foundation, has been part of the collection of Berlin’s Ethnological Museum since 1903, after a German colonial officer who had taken it by force from the Nso tribe ‘donated’ it to the government.

The board also approved the permanent return of 23 artefacts including jewellery, tools and fashion items, to Namibia, the statement noted.

The artefacts which were stolen from Namibia during the colonial period from 1884 to 1919, were sent to the southern African country in May for research purposes and will now remain there.

The statement further said the Foundation’s President, Hermann Parzinger, has also been authorised to sign an agreement on the return of objects Germany looted from Tanzania during the Maji Maji Rebellion and other conflicts during its early 20th-century colonial rule.

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