“MOST PEOPLE ASSUME that I started my acting career when I joined Umuturanyi series, but since 2009, I have appeared in many films of which some are well known outside Rwanda,” says Sandrine Uwimpundu, known by most Rwandans as Rufonsina. The mother of one shared that the very first movies she took part in, such as Mukeba and Catherine were only featured in Uganda, adding that it’s the reason why she wasn’t famous in Rwanda before joining Umuturanyi series. Born from a musician father who was a member of Orchestre Umubano and a mother who was a percussionist, the award-winning actress grew up with a love for arts and a spirit of trying different routines. She was part of theatre clubs while in primary schools and has been a traditional dancer with the National Troupe. She has also tried other arts and sports like drawing, boxing as well as poetry, but people would, most of the time, tell her that she did better while acting. Sandrine Uwimpundu , a.k.a Rufonsina. According to her, she is related to Kankwanzi, one of Urunana play’s characters and has given her big support since the beginning of her acting journey. She said that when she approached her and asked for her help to join cinema, Kankwanzi happily connected her to people who shot her first movie that unfortunately wasn’t released t. However, she says that the movie exposed her to other filmmakers. A producer called Jean Paul contacted her to be part of his movie, Mukeba, which was shot in Uganda, Kisoro where Sandrine acted as Mama Tambaza, a talkative and hilarious woman. She shares that she is well-known for that movie in different parts of Uganda just like Umutaranyi series in Rwanda. Talking about how she joined Umuturanyi series, she reveals that Clapton Kibonge, the series’ producer, asked her to play the role of Rufonsina because he was impressed by her acting in Seburikoko, another TV series. “I remember that he told me that he wanted to make me a famous female comedian in Rwanda through Rufonsina’s role. I couldn’t believe it but I eventually made it,” she says. “I brought in the idea of having a Kigoyi accent as I play that character and that made it more comic. Whenever I meet my fans, they do not believe that it’s me until I speak in Kigoyi. This shows me that I have mastered the Rufonsina character who is different from who I am in real life.” Sandrine is also known for notable TV series and plays like ‘Ejo Si Kera’, ‘City Maid’, ‘Papa Sava,’ ‘Nyirankotsa’ and the upcoming ones like ‘Friends’ and ‘Agahinda Ka Liza.’ In 2020, she was awarded by The Choice as the Best Female Actress. She shares that cinema has taught her to live with different kinds of people, adding that such personality is what has kept her grounded in the industry. “Cinema requires one to be disciplined, punctual and well behaved,” she says. “I love cinema so much to the extent that whenever I feel bad, I read a script to feel better. Apart from cinema, I am also a tailor. I make different clothes for different people.” Talking the challenges that she has faced, Sandrine said that she used to pay some directors to give her roles in movies and would even use her money to arrive at the set, but now, she has a car for transport and can provide for her family. In her early days, like her female colleagues, she shared that she has faced sexual harassment from a movie director when she wanted a part in his movie, and was denied the role Today, she perceives cinema as a career which wasn’t the case when she started. “Cinema was undermined and considered as something for young people, but nowadays, there are even some older people who do it professionally and are making a living. Many people are also investing in Cinema. This also shows that there is something,” she says.