Origins of Mashirika
In 1997, Makerere University, the department of Music Dance and Drama held a playwriting competition.
It is in this regard that a play entitled “MKOSI”, (a Swahili word meaning –Bad luck) focused on the plight of street children, was conceived by a group of Makerere students majoring in drama.
(Hope Azeda now the artistic director of mashirika, Philip Luswata founder/actor/director of theatre factory Uganda and actor/writer of makutano TV series Citizen TV, Sophie Matovu now producer/presenter UCB TV, Kassim Kayira presenter Akabozi kubiri FM Uganda and actor with Afri talent and Eva Tumwesigye now educational programming officer National theatre Uganda) .
Mkosi made it through the competition and was invited for the symposium organized by the International Drama Education in Kenya (KIDEA).
The organisers of the symposium made a request that every participating group would need to have a name.
As a group we decided that a Swahili name would be great for the East African region and the rest of the world.
As I walked back to my hall of residence Africa, I eye caught a sticker on a BMW parked on the car park, as I got closer to the BMW I saw a word masharika written on the sticker.
I immediately checked with my colleagues the meaning of the word, Philip Luswata immediately translated it as organisation which and as the saying goes tunashirikiyana-meaning- bringing efforts together and thus the name of our theatre group.
When we completed university we all went different directions. The decision to come to Rwanda sparked off, after I was seen performing in Alex’s Mukulu play MANBO BADO, I was encouraged by the then Director of orinfor to move to Rwanda and start theatre.
I then moved to Rwanda in 1998 and worked at radio Rwanda in the drama section, this job introduced me to local talent, soon I called for a meeting about a play I had written, called AMASHYIGA YA SEHUSTITWA (Firestones of Sehustitwa A play reflecting the history of Rwanda), some actors were excited about the idea and others simply left.
After a few days I met a colleague by the name Samuel Kyagambinddwa, who had pursued the same course with me, at Makerere University, I told him about the project and immediately Sam said YES!
We then worked together to market the new production, and 1998 AMASHYIGA YA SEHUSTITWA hit the media and was watched by many but also worked as a springboard for Mashirika up to this day.