SONIA UWIMBABAZI, 29, an actress, script writer and film director, graduated from Adventist University of Central Africa in Information Technology. The IT graduate broadened her skills by taking classes in art, theatre and cinema.
The actress has featured in movies like, We are all Rwandans, Ezra, The Black Me Now and has also directed Beyond the Sight which won her the Rwanda Film Festival Short Documentary award in 2012.
Focus to theatre
“At the start of university I didn’t exactly dream of doing what I do right now. Clearly art and theatre wasn’t something someone would say they are going to do and make a living out of it. But I slowly gained the passion and after graduation, I made a decision to change the mindset people had about the profession and I immediately left everything else and put my focus on theatre,” she says.
After making that decision, she featured in a number of movies but stayed close to the directors and trainers to be able to learn a number of other things about the industry which she did when she moved from acting to directing.
Uwimbabazi says art isn’t something that you can mix with other unrelated things. She believes that if someone loves it, they will take it on exclusively and give it their all.
“It’s important for one to actually put in a lot of effort. Many people have great ideas and solutions but they back out before they complete it and that is where they fail,” she says.
Mission to inspire the young
With this in mind, the actress and director figured that passing on this love for art and theatre to the younger generation would be a great way to build confidence among them. It was a selfless move because she believes that with her help, they won’t have to face the same challenges she is facing.
“With my friends, we set up a company called Kami Arts that focuses on training young Rwandans in dance, music and theatre. It has been running for one year now and the main reason we started it is because we wanted to introduce theatre to children at an early stage so as to conquer their fears now to build on it in the future,” the actress says.
While many shun the profession, it has gotten Sonia all she needs and it does more than pay her bills. She is optimistic that there is a lot more to come in the future. She urges young ladies to follow their dreams and take them seriously.
“The way everyone wakes up to do their job is the same way I wake up to do mine. I also put in a lot of effort and take my profession seriously. That is the one reason things are going well for me. People stereotype some professions but as long as you love it and work hard at it, you will definitely succeed,” she advised.
A stage with world stars
With her extraordinary skills in acting, Uwimbabazi has also gotten the chance to share a stage with different actors across the globe. She has performed in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Ivory Coast, among others. She will also be acting in Germany in May this year.
Uwimbabazi can best be described as Hillywood’s (Rwanda’s movie industry) Julia Roberts. One can rightly say that she is true beauty with talent and ambition.
What people think about her
Actor, Michael SENGAZI, commonly known for Comedy Knights, describes Uwimbabazi as very intelligent.
“I shared a stage with Sonia as we acted Black Thought Now, a play that had actors and actresses from four different nationalities but Sonia was remarkable,” he said.
“She thinks through everything she does real quick and she adopted to the speed of the new acting in a very short time. Even though it was hard for her to catch up with the dancing she is very good and definitely one of the best in Rwanda,” he concluded.