You have probably watched foreign movies with witty translations and rib cracking comments in Kinyarwanda. The face behind the voice is Tom Nkusi, commonly known as Young.
Born in Kampala, Uganda and raised in Rwanda, Nkusi grew up as a film fanatic.
“As a kid I was keen on films and probably that’s where my interest in translation started from,” says Nkusi.
When his family moved to Rwanda in 1992, he was among few of his peers with a good command of English. This gave him an edge in his bid to translate movies. “Since I was among few people who could speak good English at the time, I figured I should translate movies into a language that most people would understand.”
He hadn’t even turned 18. But that’s when he hit the road translating movies from English into Kinyarwanda and Luganda. He said he was inspired by a Ugandan friend who was himself a Video Jockey to give the business a shot.
“People’s reactions to the initial movies I translated were encouraging, that convinced me I could actually do it.”
His patience has finally paid off as he has grown into the most popular Video Jockey in the country.
Last year, The Dian Fossey Foundation,a gorilla research organisation based in Musanze District, contracted him to translate the film, “Gorillas in the Mist” into Kinyarwanda.
Besides translating, the VJ has featured in local films as an actor. He has also had a go at producing and directing.
Amongst the local motion pictures he has featured include, Ibara, (colour) and Blood in the rain, a story about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Nkusi also owns One Film Production, a company he founded in 2003. He has 15 staff.
“I have always wanted to go into business and translating movies made that possible, I still have a lot to improve on, I am not where I want to be yet,” Nkusi adds.
Nkusi urges young people to be creative and hard-working in whatever they do.
“I believe that thoughts lead to actions, everyone can find something fulfilling to do as long as you have an idea. Nothing can stop you. It is sad when youth sit around and complain about whatever problems, instead of investing their time and energy to improve their livelihood,” he says.
“I am a testimony to the fact that creativity can take you places.”