There is this common misconception about Kigali night life being, says Jane Uwimana, a journalist with Radio 10. The new entertainment around town which include the live band performances and karaoke, are making the label of ‘boring Kigali’ a thing of the past.
Besides being the Secretary General of the Rwanda Journalists Association, the 26-year old- Uwimana performs with a live band while, at the same time, hosting karaoke nights in different hotels in Kigali.
“I have been singing in different places for the last two years. As a child I always wanted to be a musician although it changed later because there no music school in Rwanda. I thus opted for sciences in school. This also changed when I started working on radio,” Uwimana discloses.
She produced her first single ‘My new love’ in 2005 while in high school, and although it didn’t sell it was played on the air-waves.
“My second single was a dedication to my mother after she passed away. I produced the single in 2008 and was called ‘Niririmbire’. I’m planning to produce an album and this time round I will have to promote it properly”.
Most of the songs she sings during karaoke or live band music performances are songs of other artistes. She performs at different places such as Umubano Hotel, on Wednesday and Friday from 6-7pm, Rainbow Hotel Fridays’ 8pm till midnight and Carwash from 7-11pm.
“Nowadays I receive many offers from several people requesting me to perform at different places. I think live music is gaining momentum in Rwanda. At first people wonder what it’s all about but later they tend to fall in love with the shows and start inviting their friends, thus widening my fan base,” Uwimana expresses.
Regarding the challenges she faces in terms of her live music and karaoke career, she says that they are the same misconceptions associated with people in the entertainment business.
“A few men, when they see me on stage singing, they think I came to impress them and some go as far as thinking that I’m a prostitute. I don’t understand why they can’t see me as someone doing something that brings me a lot of joy and at the end of the day I’m paid for the singing, so it’s a job. I have to explain to them because when I ‘m through with the performances they approach me. But I think the mind set will change with time,” Uwimana says.
Born in Kigali, Uwimana is the only child of the late Osee Ruyenzi who died in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi while her mother Epiphanie Nyirafaranga passed on in 2008.
“I used to feel really lonely being the only child but later I decided to use it as an advantage to turn many of my friends into brothers and sisters. My father was killed in 1994 when I was just eight years and my mother never remarried,” Uwimana recalls.
She vaguely remembers how she was able to survive being killed although she at one time even stayed in the home of an Interahamwe militiaman.
“At the time I didn’t understand the meaning of whatever was happening. But I remember I was in place called Save town in the southern Province where I had gone to visit family friends. We were with other children going to the market when we saw a young man being beaten so badly by a group of people, telling him he was an agent of ‘Inkotanyi’ that was the first time I ever saw someone bleeding so badly,” Uwimana solemnly recalls.
She said, “I immediately ran home and was very scared. On reaching home the people I was staying with said that we would not spend the night at home. We all went different places and hid. I returned home when the house had been burnt and everything taken. That was when I innocently went to the neighbours’ house without knowing that they were killers. The wife in the home said that they spared me because I was a child but they hid me all the time they held meetings in the night but I would play with their children during the day.”
She further said that after sometime the family that hid her had to flee the country and they also left her with other neighbours who hadn’t been part of the killings.
“After a long time staying with these people, my mother came looking for me and brought me back to Kigali where I discovered that my father had been killed. My mother was so devastated. As the person she had at the time I had to be strong and whatever I did, I always wanted to make her happy. It made me be more responsible about life,” Uwimana observes.
She attended Cyugiza Primary School, then went to College Adventiste de Gitwe for her O’ Level and Groupe Scolaire Saint Andre for her A’ Level. She also attained a diploma in Electronics and Telecommunication at Tumba College of Technology.
“I started working for Radio in 2007; I had passed the interview for the job although I was in my senor six vacation. I later realised I can do well in the journalism profession during my time working with City Radio. I, thus, abandoned the field of science,” Uwimana she narrates.
In 2008, she started working at Radio 10 and also attained a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication at the National University of Rwanda under the Great Lakes Media and Communications programme.
“As a journalist, my dream is to keep changing the world and improve my professionalism as well as impact my colleagues positively,” Uwimana concludes.
Colour: - White
Music: - Slow Music
Dish: - Spaghettis
Sport: - Swimming
Quote: - ‘Life is beautiful’