Founded in 2000 by Petna, Sekombi and Katya Katondolo, Yole! Africa offers arts education, training, and mentoring to youth in eastern DRC. Drawing the name from the cry used by central African shepards to gather their herds, the artists began Yole! Africa as a way to promote peace and reconciliation through arts and culture.
Yolé!Africa operates a cultural center in Goma which serves as a forum for young people from different backgrounds to come together and express themselves through art, sport, and other media. The organization provides mentorship and artistic expertise for youth sharing their experiences, opinions, and views on peace and conflict through weekly music, dance and exhibitions at the center.
Yole!Africa also organizes The Salaam Kivu International Film Festival (SKIFF), “A cultural festival at the foot of the volcano”. The signature annual event and a vivid reflection of the rich artistic community and culture of eastern Congo, the 10-day festival highlights African filmmakers through public screenings and conversations, and promotes artist exchange across the central African region through workshops, concerts and performances. In the past two years, SKIFF has attracted more than 16,000 people including filmmakers, musicians and dancers from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Brazil and the US.
In 2009, Yole!Africa worked with over 500 community youth on art, dance and music projects, with community performances attracting thousands of local residents.
In 2010, Yole!Africa received a $30,000 grant from ECI to train young, talented Congolese in the production of short films and audio pieces, and enable powerful storytelling that forces western audiences to reconsider negative stereotypes of Africa and Congo.