For those of you who have closely followed Rwanda’s entertainment and music industry, there is a name that has always been associated with its development - Maggie Van Lierop Kenyana.
Unfortunately, Kenyana passed away on May 6, 2009 in Nairobi at the Agha Khan International University Hospital in Nairobi after a long battle with cancer. Her body arrived early Sunday morning.
“Maggie was a great person, an achiever who showed all of us women that we too can achieve in the world of men.” Nasra Bishumba a close friend to Kenyana said.
“She is one of the most patient people I know.”
Kenyana rose to fame through 4Real promotions, a company she co-founded with McDavis Genza in 2003.
According to a local Rwandan musician Jean Claude Iyamuremye, a.k.a Dr Claude, Kenyana holds a special place in the lives of local artists.
“All of us remember Maggie for the efforts she put in promoting us and the music industry.” Iyamuremye said.
“The entertainment industry has lost a person who knew everything about it.”
In a December 2007 interview with Focus Magazine, Kenyana highlighted her commitment to promote local artists.
“In all our concerts we ensure that local artists perform alongside the visiting musicians, and they are paid for it,” she said.
“The artists benefit from this because it gives them a chance to promote themselves.”
For instance when Tanzania’s Rehema Chalamila a.k.a. Ray C performed in Rwanda in 2007, she went on to record a song with Family Squad, a Rwandan dancehall group. It is also through a similar arrangement that Rafiki established a partnership with Kenyan musician Red Sun.
William Mwiseneza, one of her partners at 4Real was almost out of words when asked what he remembered about Kenyana.
“I don’t know how to start. Despite the fact that she was a partner, Maggie was also my friend. She had the best advice for the company, and knew how to run things.” He said with his voice breaking.
Kenyana’s body was laid to rest yesterday at the Remera cemetery after a two hour funeral service led by Pastor Andrew Mukinisha of Christian Life Assembly (CLA), Nyarutarama.
Kenyana is survived by a husband, Robert Van Lierop. Born December 21, 1978, Kenyana went to Namutamba Demostration School for her Pre-Primary and later joined D.K Educational Primary School in Uganda, where she completed her primary education.
She did her secondary education at Rubaga Girls School in Kampala, and later studied in Kenya at Multi Media Institution in Nairobi, Kenya.