by Eugène KWIBUKA
Some of the protestors outside Canal+ Group headquarters in Paris last week. The New Times/ Courtesy.
Anti-Genocide activists in France are considering suing French TV Canal+ over its broadcast of a sketch seen as ridiculing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The revelation comes days after protesters from the Rwandan community in France and their friends took to the streets in the capital Paris on Saturday to deliver a message of their disapproval with Canal+.
The march was the latest in a series of activities to protest against the television’s broadcast.
It was first held at the office of the “Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel” (CSA), which regulates television content in the country, before the protesters marched to the office of Canal+ Group.
As part of its flagship comedy show codenamed DBQT, the television allowed a December 20, 2013 show that dug into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in a manner that viewers who are conversant with the killings have called “unacceptable and intolerable.”
The Saturday protests were organised after activists against Canal+ comedy on the Genocide were not satisfied with the group’s response that it did not mean to undermine the memory of the victims.
More than 22,000 people have signed an online citizen petition that seeks an apology from Canal+, a private French pay TV channel, for the comedy sketch.
Canal+ executives said their comedians had wanted to criticise how little some people in France and the Western world know or care about what happens in other countries, using the Genocide in Rwanda as an example.
But the sketch irked many around the world, especially Rwandans, both at home and in the Diaspora.
Legal action due
Richard Gisagara, a French-Rwandan lawyer living in France, who is involved with the protests, says the activists still believe the comedy was “abject” and will now sue the television to seek both retraction and damages.
“A case will probably be brought up against Canal+ by the end of the month. This will be done in the name of a person seeking justice for the victims and survivors and not in the name of an association,” he said.
The lawyer said the civil case will come after the announcement of the position of the CSA on the comedy sketch, which is supposed to be communicated soon, according to the association of Rwandans in France.
“Someone will be proving in court that their dignity or that of their parents or children was undermined by the comedy sketch,” he said.
The manager of CSA, Marc El Nouchi, told a delegation representing the protestors on Saturday that his organisation will make a statement about what it makes of the comedy sketch before the end of the month.
Gisagara said the body’s response will not stop his clients from suing Canal+ unless the latter makes a public apology and retract what activists see as undermining the memory of the Genocide.
The online petition that demands Canal + to officially apologise insists that “genocide is not a laughing matter.”
The activists say “disregard for the victims of a Genocide that claimed over a million lives in 100 days in 1994 will not be tolerated.”
Source: The New Times
INTER PRESS SERVICE (IPS)
by Amy FALLON
Photo: Simon Deiner
Kigali — When Rwandan designer Colombe Ituze Ndutiye began drawing at the age of six, she thought she would grow up to be a cartoonist.
But now at the age of 25 she has the distinction of being the first Rwandan to own her own fashion label, “INCO icyusa“, and was one of 10 local designers who showed off their creations on the runway at the second Kigali Fashion Week on Nov. 8.
“I wanted it to be something young and more classic, but I added traditional accessories to combine the two very different cultures,” Ndutiye tells IPS of her new collection, Wild Identity.
“Normally, when we have those traditional accessories it’s just for a wedding. They symbolise a Rwandan theme. Having it mixed with western culture, for me, it was something wild,” says Ndutiye, who first became intrigued by fashion design when she met a Belgium designer in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s economy has come a long way since the 1994 genocide that resulted in the deaths of almost one million people in less than 100 days.
Before 1994, the country had a “small and uncompetitive” industrial sector, which manufactured soap, textiles, small-scale beverages, furniture and plastic goods. But now the government hopes it will become the Singapore of Africa. “Rwanda hopes to emulate and replicate Singapore’s ICT feat in Africa by creating favourable ICT policies that lay the groundwork for its ICT sector,” the report states.
According to an October economic report by South African-based research and strategy firm Consultancy Africa Intelligence, post-genocide Rwanda has achieved a lot in its Information and Communications Technology sector.
And there is hope that Rwanda could become just as successful with its fashion. Local company House of Fashion was established almost two years ago to support and promote the Rwandan industry. House of Fasion’s head John Bunyeshuli says Rwandans have a “subtle” style, with the “high end” of the population able to travel to Europe to buy clothes.
“But the middle [income sector], mostly go to markets [that sell] secondhand clothes,” Bunyeshuli tells IPS.
He says there is a perception here that fashion is not for the serious minded.
“Rwanda is a new country, we’re still catching up. Yes, people here do fashion shows, but they take it as a luxury,” Bunyeshuli says.
LDJ Productions, the company that has been running New York Fashion Week (NYFW) for the past decade, say there is certainly potential in Rwanda for a booming rag trade.
Founder and chief executive officer Laurie DeJong has been mentoring Ndutiye for the past two years after hearing about her through thePeace Through Business (PTB) programme, an initiative of the U.S.-based non-profit Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women.
The programme involves pairing western female entrepreneurs with women in Afghanistan and Rwanda in order to empower them. Although Ndutiye was not picked for the programme, PTB’s founder connected DeJong with the African designer.
“Fashion is one of the biggest industries in the world,” DeJong tells IPS.
“New York Fashion Week is one of the biggest events in New York City, it brings in the most income of any event in New York City. I think the potential for the revenue for this country [Rwanda] is just as huge,” she says.
In the lead-up to Kigali Fashion Week’s Nov. 8 evening show, LDJ helped with fittings, building the catwalk, and installing lights and sound. They also organised marketing and business workshops and a photo shoot for each designer.
“This, for us, is a lot smaller than what we’re used to but it’s also difficult for us to work in a country that doesn’t have the resources that we’re used to having,” DeJong says. “But they have an incredible will to learn here and they’re so committed and serious about doing this.”
Upcoming Ivorian designer Michaella Rugwizangoga sees a gap in the Rwandan market and plans to continue working here on her lineChicissime, which she launched last year.
“[The West African fashion industry] is much older. They have more skills and the country where I was born is on the sea so it’s not a land-locked country like Rwanda, so there’s much more choice of fabric,” Rugwizangoga tells IPS.
She points to the success of Ghanaian and Nigerian designers who are now selling their clothes at London’s Selfridges department store. Selfridges stocks Ndani, the Nigerian fashion project label that showcases a number of Nigeria’s designers. But Rugwizangoga points out: “[Fashion] is a new industry in Rwanda so there’s a lot of excitement and curiosity.”
But Rwanda currently lacks a local fashion school. And Belgian-born Candy Basomingera, who partnered with Sonia Mugabo to design the women’s range, Afrikana Exquisiteness, would love to learn more about the industry.
“There’s no fashion school here… You can learn on the job but it will never be as good as if you went to a school where they teach you the basics and you go for internships with big fashion houses,” Basomingera, who is planning to start selling her range online soon, tells IPS.
Basomingera, who is part Belgian Congolese and part Rwandan, worked in public health but when her contract ended a year ago, she decided to venture into fashion.
She says she would love it if Rwandan designers, models, tailors and photographers were able to travel aboard and be exposed to international fashion industries.
Her dream may come true. There is a possibility that some Rwandan fashion designers may go to NYFW next year.
And there are plans to bring international sponsors onboard for the third Kigali Fashion Week. But before that there will be a mini Fashion Week in May with a fashion school involving industry figures from the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. The long-term goal is to construct Rwanda’s first school of the arts with the House of Fashion.
Bunyeshuli Weaving Kigali Fashion Week II
The baby that is the Kigali Fashion Week makes two years this November. And, naturally, we all expect a bigger and better event than the first, which had its own share of teething problems… read more
Kigali Fashion Show – It Was a Panorama of Latest Fashion Trends
It was motley of both local and international fashionatas and fashion lovers, as the Kigali Fashion Show came to a close last Friday, at Serena hotel, Kigali… read more
Candidates of the REMOAwards (Photo: Izuba Rirashe/ Ububiko)
THE NEW TIMES
06. August 2013
by Jean d’Amour MBONYINSHUTI
Rwandan Entertainers and Musicians Organisation (REMO), has awarded artistes and people who promote music in the Northern Province.
Musanze-based famous artiste, Franc Kay led the nominees going into the inaugural REMO Awards, with nods and he was all smiles on Saturday evening, after emerging the Best Male artiste.
Sister Jamy had a teary moment when she took home the award for the Best Female Artiste. Twelve-year Mucyo Gloire, also had a reason to celebrate after beating several young artistes in Musanze district to emerge the Best Popular Teen Artiste.
The Award for Best Modern Dancing group went to Jaba Workers and the Best Popular Song was “Ikibazo” by The Bless.
“I am so honored to receive this award. This has motivated me to even work harder to improve my career in music,” the excited The Bless told the crowd upon receiving the trophy.
Theogene Ntamukunzi won the Best Traditional Artiste and Impete y’umuco as the overall Best Traditional Dancing Group. The 1st annual awards ceremony also recognised journalists, music producers and film producers, among others. Some officials in the Northern Province were also awarded during the event for promoting and supporting the artistes.
Present were officials from various government institutions, including the Rwanda Governance Board, National Youth Council and senior police officials. The Governor of Northern Province Aime Bosenibamwe, said the government supports and encourages the youth to be creative and innovative. “Artistes are among creative and innovative people that the government recognises and pledge to support their projects as longer as they are in line with the government policy,” he said.
According to Francine Umutoni, the president of REMO, the event aims to promote artistes and musicians.
Gahunda yo guhemba abahanzi muri “REMO Award ” yarahindutse (Kinyarwanda)
Ishyirahamwe ry’abahanzi n’abateza muzika imbere mu Rwanda (REMO) ku nshuro ya mbere ryateguye amarushanwa y’abahanzi bo mu Karere ka Musanze, gahunda y’igitaramo cyo guhemba abatsinze ikaba yarahindutse.
Mu kiganiro Umutoni Francine ukuriye Rwandan Entertainers & Musicians Organisation (REMO) yagiranye n’ikinyamakuru Izuba Rirashe, yavuze ko igikorwa cyo guhemba abahanzi bazatsinda amarushanwa yateguye cyari giteganyijwe ku wa 8, cyimuriwe ku itariki ya 29 Kamena 2013 kubera impamvu zitandukanye. [read all…]
The Rwandan Entertainers & Musician Organisation:
REMO (Rwandan Entertainers & Musician Organisation) is an annual award ceremony to acknowledge and honor musical excellence and entertainers creativity as well as provide a high profile and multi faceted celebration of the rich cultural diversity of Rwandan Music.
Celebrating musical achievements through the establishments of an institutional framework that follows, records and relays musical success stories on an ongoing basis (REMO).
Utilizing music as a vehicle for cultural expression i.e. customs food and critical component in attracting tourism inflows to the country.
Selecting a team of industry specialists to act as adjudicators in the process of identifying and selecting musicians who must be acknowledged and honored :
Organizing an annual musical awards that effectively competes at country level,
For its first time we are gong to acknowledge and honor musicians & partners in the northern province of Rwanda for their achievements since 2010 to 2013. LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK !
THE NEW TIMES
by Seraphine HABIMANA
The Expo attracted more than 100,000 visitors per week last year. The Rwanda Focus (file photo)
The 16th Annual Rwanda International Trade Fair (Expo 2013) that started on Wednesday officially yesterday by the Prime Minister, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi.
However, by about 3:30pm yesterday some exhibitors were still setting up their stalls.
Cyprien Habiryayo, an exhibitor from tea producer, Sorwathe, said people were still few, but was hopeful the numbers would go up since yesterday was the first day.
Ephrem Karangwa, the Expo 2013 co-ordinator, said this year there are many changes regarding quality and organisation. The ‘business corner’ for exhibitors to exchange ideas and network is one of the changes, he added.
The expo is running under the theme, “Linking businesses to market”.
Karangwa noted that manufacturers from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) were attending the fair for the first time, which he said will help Rwandan business people make contacts with suppliers of products that are not produced in East Africa.
At least 345 exhibitors, both local and foreign, are participating in the annual event that is aimed at showcasing new products and networking. Last year, 491 exhibitors participated.
The expo has attracted companies from the Comesa region, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
Expo 2014 promises to be biggest ever
Private Sector Federation boss Hannington Namara says the 16th edition of the Rwanda International Trade fair, which starts on Wednesday, will be bigger and more exciting than ever.
He explained that they have reduced on the number of tents to create more space for exhibitors as this was the main concern raised by participants last year, so there will be slightly over 700 stands for 330 local and foreign companies. [read all…]
Sources: allafrica.com, The Rwanda Focus
THE NEW TIMES
by Moses SERUGO 23 July 2013
Opening with Mama Africa, a documentary that charts the life of celebrated South African diva, Miriam Makeba (March 4, 1932-November 9, 2008) gave the ninth edition of the Rwanda Film Festival its requisite credentials in line with the 2013 theme: Our Mothers, Our Heroes.
Makeba was widely recognised as a hero of the South African anti-apartheid struggle and while giving his pre-screening speech, the South African High Commissioner to Rwanda George Nkosinati Twala called on local filmmakers to document the contribution of women to the Rwandan liberation struggle.
Nkosinati was speaking at the festival’s opening night at Century Cinema at Kigali City Towers.
He also asked filmmakers to document the lives of the artistes that provided the soundtrack to the struggle: “Artistes are our conscience. They reflect our pain. We need to acknowledge them.”
The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Oda Gasinzigwa, on the other hand, urged filmmakers to portray women in film more positively.
Festival director Eric Kabera was beside himself with glee acknowledging that having a cinema as a principal screening venue was a festival first.
The festival will have additional screening venues at Kigali Public Library, New Papyrus, The Office in Kiyovu, Kimisagara Youth Centre, Club Rafiki in Nyamirambo and a special screening of the Genocide film Imbabazi at the Kigali Memorial Centre in Gisozi.
Mama Africa (German Trailer)
Mama Africa is a befitting tribute to Makeba, whose joyous songs like Pata Pata masked the agony she lived with as an exile banished from her home country South Africa.
Makeba spent the better part of her anti-apartheid struggle outside South Africa living in far-flung places like the United States. While there she built a network of musical friends that helped her push her anti-apartheid agenda whose highlight was a speech she made at the United Nations.
The documentary uses archival footage because it was shot after the death of the acclaimed African diva. Makeba died on November 9, 2008 while on tour in Italy. The bulk of the material is from interviews of people that lived and worked with Makeba, including her former lovers Hugh Masekela and Harry Belafonte and her grandchildren.
It is interspersed with excerpts from Makeba’s legendary performances including Pata Pata, a song she says she had gotten tired of performing owing to its lack of lyrical content but was quite popular with audiences globally.
The documentary also recounts sad moments in Makeba’s life including how her mother was detained for brewing and selling umquombothi beer when Makeba was only 18 days old. You cannot help but wipe a tear when Makeba sits on her mother’s grave “like I’d sit on her lap,” the first thing she does upon returning to South Africa.
Her most significant musical encounter in exile is a London meeting with Harry Belafonte that paves way for a career in the US and her famous speech at the United Nations.
Director Mika Kaurismaki does a great job weaving together black and white footage and personal tales of Makeba, who include ex-lovers, musical peers and Makeba’s two grandchildren from her daughter who takes credit for composing the Mozambiquan liberation anthem A Luta Continua.
Mama Africa will show again at Century Cinema on Thursday May 25, at 9pm.
THE ROAD TO HILLYWOOD
Rwanda Film Festival, also known as “Hillywood,” has established itself not only as the country’s most important cultural event, but is fast becoming one of Africa’s most prestigious film festival. For 7 days, film lovers, filmmakers, industry professionals and the media will experience the best in local and international cinema from established masters and new talent.
Our principal objective is to promote and encourage awareness, appreciation and understanding of the art of cinema in Rwanda. Our mandate is to present the most outstanding films produced in every part of the world. Films are selected on the basis of quality and originality. The Festival also promotes contacts between industry professionals to assist in the development of the Rwandan motion picture industry. … See the Movie Guide 2013
Source: allafrica.com, rwandafilmfestival.net
THE NEW TIMES
by Linda M. KAGIRE, 29 JUNE 2013
Contestants of Primus Guma Guma Superstar Season 3 entertained Ngoma residents in the Eastern Province of Rwanda on week 5 of the countrywide Roadshows.
Starting today, the eleven contestants of the Primus Guma Guma Superstar music contest will embark on the most competitive phase of the Bralirwa sponsored music show.
Riderman, Kamichi, Micho Prosper, Eric Senderi, Danny Nanone, Fireman, Bull Dog, Knowless, Dream Boys, Christopher and Urban Boys will perform at Amahoro National Stadium parking lot in front of a panel of three judges. This is the first time the contestants will perform in front of judges.
Nairobi-based Burundian star Kidum will lead a panel of four judges who will include Canada-based Rwandan musician Mighty Popo Murigande, Aaron Nitunga and Aimable Twahirwa, who are all seasoned music stars and teachers.
The 11 contestants have been undergoing intense rehearsals.
Apart from Kamichi who has been sick, the rest of the contestants have been busy polishing their on-stage skills.
The first phase of Guma Guma, which included road shows in Rusizi, Nyanza, Nyamagabe, Ngoma, Karongi and Gicumbi was not demanding for the contestants since they performed using playback.
Nevertheless, they used the road shows to showcase their might, with some of the contestants proving to be bigger than others.
Tension can already be felt among the contestants. The next part will prove to be a test of character for all the contestants. The ‘live’ part has no room for errors, since those who don’t meet expectations will be eliminated.
“For the first time it feels like a music competition. As a music lover I will enjoy this part because only those who can do music properly will progress. It will not depend on who will campaign more than the others,” says Nadine Umurerwa, a university student.
It is the first time Bralirwa is bringing in judges, a move which has been applauded for bringing something new to the contest.
Following several upcountry road shows, the contestants have taken a one-week break to rest and rehearse for today’s show. This coming weekend the contestants will perform in Muhanga before heading north to Musanze on July 13. On July 20, Guma Guma will head to Rubavu to wind up the countryside live shows.
From July 20 to 26, the remaining contestants will be undergoing intensive rehearsals and radio campaigns before the last eviction set for July 27 at Kigali Serena Hotel. The winner will be crowned on August 10.
The winner will take home Rwf 24million and a trophy, among other things.
For any poetry lover or art in general, all roads lead to the Manor Hotel in Nyarutarama yesterday for the Spoken Word monthly episode organised by Spoken Word Rwanda. The event, which ran with the theme Guilty Pleasures, started at 7.30pm and ended at 10.30pm.
“Spoken Word”, a monthly session that brings together poetry, art and live band music, took place on Wednesday night at exclusive The Manor Hotel in Nyarutarama.
The show that kicked off at 8:49pm, about an hour late from schedule, compensated for lost time with powerful poetry, interlude melodies accompanied by impressive guitar and piano performances from volunteers in the crowd and the occasional rib-cracking comedy from the MC.
What stood out the most though were the poetry recitals, done in a blend of English, French and Kinyarwanda under the theme “Guilty Pleasures”. Lines in particular poems ranged from stirring, funny, and nostalgic. After each poem, a long round of applause and ululation followed.
However, the night was brought to its climax by a “joke cracking” competition from four couples selected from the audience.
Performers at a past spoken word event. Inset Diana Mpyisi the event’s coordinator.
The winning couple earned itself a special dinner at hotel.
“I am so glad with the turn-up of this month’s event.
I only pray that a bigger number comes next time, “said Diana Mpyisi, co-founder and organiser of the Spoken Word initiative.
Source: BY IVAN NGOBOKA, 1 FEBRUARY 2013, The New Times
HUNDREDS of fans continue to pay tribute to the late Henry Hirwa of the KGB (Kigali Boys) music group, who drowned in Lake Muhazi last Saturday.
The singer, who died on a day he had gone on a picnic with friends, will be laid to rest tomorrow at Rusororo public cemetery after a requiem mass at Regina Pacis in Remera at 1p.m.
Fans, friends and celebrities alike have taken to Facebook and Twitter to honour the 27-year-old artiste.
Emotional tributes continue to pour in on Hirwa’s official Facebook fan page.
On Sunday, Miss Rwanda 2012 Aurore Kayibanda Mutesi, the sister to the deceased, wrote, “There is always a reason for everything. I thank you Lord Father for everything and especially for giving me a special brother, Henry. Cherie, as you always said, Rasta never dies.
“I know you will always be there for me as you promised and I will do my best to do everything you wanted me to do. I love you and for me you’re still alive”.
Austin Tosh Luwano, a local singer, wrote, “I don’t know want to say…Henry I even don’t want to say R.I.P because I don’t want to believe it.”
Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe, a fan, posted, “RIP Henry Hirwa, praying for strengths to those left behind.”
Gaston Rurangwa, a.k.a Skizzy, a member of KGB, the R&B group, which Hirwa joined in 2003, wrote, “Henry, my young brother, you were always there for me, fed me when I was hungry, gave me water when I was thirsty, you clothed me in the cold. There is nothing you ever failed to provide me with when you could.”
You were there for me when I was admitted at King Faysal Hospital after I had an accident and you made sure I received the best treatment and attention from the doctors.
“You’ve left too soon. Your family was expecting a lot from you and I’ll never forget all the good things you did for me.”
R&B sensation Tom Close, wrote, “Rest in Peace brother. We’ll all take that journey one day, may the Almighty receive you among His own children.”
Music producer Davydenko, also posted, “H-Wow, you’ve left us. It’s really sad because I had plans of working on a song with KGB. Now we’re going to do it without you. R.I.P”
The singer, known by his stage name H-Wow, had travelled to the Eastern Province for a picnic with his friends but hell broke loose when they decided to play volleyball in the lake.
“Initially our plan was to play volleyball in the playing field but we ended up taking the game to the shores of the lake,” said one of the 17 colleagues who had gone for the picnic with the deceased.
“When we went to pick up some drinks, Hirwa stayed behind and we didn’t realise he was missing, until someone asked where he’d gone,” added another.
When his friends noticed he was missing, they embarked on a search and later discovered that he had already drowned in the lake. They tried to save him but with little success. He was then rushed to Rwamagana Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Shortly, news of his death spread on the social networking sites, as tributes to the fallen singer flooded Twitter and Facebook.
Source: BRYAN KIMENYI, 4 DECEMBER 2012 for THE NEW TIMES
The African premiere of ‘Sweet Poison’, an 89-minute documentary on the blessings and curse of foreign development aid took place at Kigali Serena Hotel on Tuesday.
Kenya’s Turkana Fishplant in ruins.
Written and directed by Peter Heller, the film had its first world premiere two weeks ago at the Hamburg Film Festival in Germany.
The movie’s subtitle ‘Aid as Business’ displays a clear view of foreign aid from various African perspectives. It is estimated that over 800,000 people worldwide survive on aid.
Production crew during a shooting session of the film.
Another scene in the movie that demonstrate the orgies of aid.
Focusing on Mali, Kenya and Tanzania as case studies, from over a period of thirty years, ‘Sweet Poison’ demonstrates that development aid has had only limited and sometimes questionable effects.
First, the documentary reveals the initial impression Africans get as they receive aid in the form of food, infrastructure and machinery. But as a result, the aid creates a dependency syndrome among the people/countries who end up discarding activities that sustained them before.
The film also highlights the taboos of north to south relations and the African complex with provocative analytic statements, views and opinions from African journalists and experts. It then offers options for African countries to develop towards a self-determined future.
Once aid is then withdrawn, people become vulnerable and are compelled to cope up with the situation.
Heller, who is a veteran filmmaker, has made films for the last 40 years. “For forty years, I have been making films on Africa- our neighbouring continent, searching, observing and analysing its connections and relations,” Peter Heller, of ‘Sweet Poison’ told The New Times.
Another scene in the movie that demonstrate the orgies of aid.
“I felt that as most African countries have had 50 years of independence, what the progress has been made so far-especially as most of them receive foreign aid?” he posed.
The film’s premiere comes in at a time when Rwanda is currently embroiled in a tussle with powerful Western nations over ‘Foreign Aid’.
“I was very satisfied with the strong reactions people expressed after its screening. I didn’t expect people to welcome and appreciate it that way,” he added.
The filmmaker is expected to begin the promotional tour of his film promotional tour throughout his native Germany in November, alongside Mohammed Gueye, one of the commentators in the film.
Official Trailer “Süsses Gift”, Peter Heller (german):
Source: ANDREW ISRAEL KAZIBWE, 27 OCTOBER 2012, The New Times, allAfrica.com
Annette Uwizeye is a Rwandan filmmaker who has made several short films and commercials and opens a platform to encourage young women to venture into various fields.
The founder of ‘A WIZE Films’ production company, Annette Uwizeye, is one of the few women working in Rwanda’s nascent film industry. The South Africa-educated 31-year-old discovered her passion for the arts while pursuing a degree in Auditing and Accounting at the University of South Africa.
In an interview with Women Today, the eloquent and open-minded Annette narrates how she switched from a career that many consider ‘safe’, to embrace her true passion.
“My dad is an accountant by profession. One would think that numbers come naturally in my family but in my final year, I struggled and wasn’t really focused. I asked myself if I could settle as an auditor because my family thought it was the most promising career. I repeated my final year three times due to retakes and eventually my dad decided to transfer me to another school. It was either that, or think things through back at home,” the Kenyan-born narrates.
“I was drawn to the art but was not sure on whether to do theatre or film. I’m glad that Rwanda Cinema Centre opened doors for me. I had to take a course in film but wasn’t sure whether my dad would pay for it. But there was something in me that would just not let go. I applied to a film school in South Africa and fortunately, after the interview I was accepted,” she explains.
“One thing that cemented my desire to change career direction was taking a trip down memory lane. I was just six years old and a lady saw me drawing and sketching funny things and when she asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, easily, I said I wanted to be an artist. Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, says that as you grow up, the child in you has the purest sense of what you ought to be,” she reveals.
She further said you should always look back into your childhood because it holds the answer to who you are and what you want to be.
“Things don’t happen by coincidence, once you identify your path and purpose in life, things fall into place. For example, a typo in my admission letter to film school indicating tuition fees for a year was only R7000 an approximate $1000, this easily prompted my family to once again sponsor my tuition for a film degree, but 6 months later we discovered that everyone else was paying R17,000 – the first digit had been omitted and there was no turning back,” She narrates.
She has written, directed and produced several projects in South Africa and Rwanda. Other than co-producing the award- winning TV show, the M-Net Edit (Emerging Dynamics in Television) 2010 competition, she has also produced many of the MTN Rwanda commercials that aired last year.
She is currently working on a film called ‘Uwera’,due to be released next year.
On the subject of overcoming challenges she said, “There is this term called servant leadership. In leading teams, you inspire individuals to achieve the best and maintain a level of professionalism. You lead a team not to dominate but to collaborate. We also make sure that we pay people fairly and on time. These are things I have come to learn and appreciate just by observing my role models.”
This year, she founded A WIZE Films and partnered with Moukhtar Omar Sibomana, who is also passionate about film.
“At A WIZE Films, we describe ourselves as ‘story-mongers’. We are here to trade stories. Our slogan is, “Bring the World to Rwanda and take Rwanda to the World.” Our aim is to create entertaining and heartening content for film and television. I believe film is a tool for inspiring change, mirrors society and cultural exchange,” Annette explains.
The filmmaker advised women to embrace their true calling.
“It’s okay to be scared; we all get scared at some point. Through my journey, I hesitated at times but you need to trust that if you’re in the right path, things will work out, so have some faith. Acknowledge your talent and passion because no one will do it for you; one baby step at a time,” Annette adds.
She also said that women in Rwanda, who have succeeded in different fields, need to tell their story to inspire others.
“A platform showcasing women achievers would really encourage young women to venture into various fields. Women need to believe that they can do anything, not just in business but life in general,” she explains.
The funny and outgoing filmmaker is still single but to sweep her off her feet, candidates need to have at least five qualities.
“He should be God fearing, family oriented, passionate about what he does, a Rwandan, and taller than 5ft 11 inches,” she laughs.
Anette Uwizeye: Show Reel (Youtube video)
Source: DOREEN UMUTESI, 25 OCTOBER 2012, The New Times, allAfrica.com