Karate federation mourns Sayinzoga


Sayinzoga, seen here during the 1970s as a young karateka. Sayinzoga passed away on Sunday and will laid to rest today. (Courtesy)

Rwanda Karate Federation (FERWAKA) has joined the rest of the country to mourn the passing of Jean Sayinzoga, 75, who they describe as the ‘father’ of modern Rwandan Karate.

Sayizonga, who was the chairman of Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC), breathed his last on April 16 at King Faisal Hospital where he succumbed to liver cancer.

He will be laid to rest at Rusororo public cemetery today.

Various people have described Sayinzoga as a passionate, hard-working, and dedicated man.

Speaking to Times Sport on Wednesday, the national Karate team head coach Noel Nkuranyabahizi said Sayinzoga’s death was a great loss to the local Karate fraternity.

“It is very tragic, we are saddened by his death because he has been the father figure of Rwanda’s Karate. He worked hard to make the sport popular in the country and  he has been a role model for every Karateka in the country,” said Nkuranyabahizi.

Karate as a sport was established in Rwanda before the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. However, Sayinzoga was among the people who later organised to form the Rwanda Karate Federation.

Nkuranyabahizi added: “He transformed Karate through coaching and has been a senior to the federation officials in every aspect, it’s a big loss, most especially for us who looked up to him.”

Sayinzonga was the first Rwandan with ‘6th Dan’, which he obtained in 2015 and was followed by Tharcisse Sinzi (5th Dan Grade), who is said to have rescued up to 118 people during the 1994 Genocide through applying his karate techniques.

Sayinzoga is also known to have introduced and taught Karate in Burundi. He served as the president of Rutsiro District advisory committee from 2011 until last year.