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How a retired soldier found a niche in music

Singer Pierre Claver Munyabugingo, aka Padiri uses music to inspire young people. / Craish Bahizi.

Pierre Claver Munyabugingo is a musician, father of four, and retired soldier with a great zeal to promote patriotism among the youths through his songs.

Also Known as Padiri, the nickname is derived from having studied in a seminary school, a decision which was dropped later to join the former Rwanda Patriotic Army.


“I attended high school in Petit Seminaire Saint Kizito. From there, I joined the Rwanda Patriotic Army in 1992, when I got there, all the soldiers called me ‘Padiri’ which means a priest, because I was from a seminary school”, he told The New Times.


Music was in my blood since earlier in my childhood, he says, from singing in Church to leading the RPA’s morale campaign. He retired in 2003, but decided to start his own music during the lockdown.


“I started by having some collaborations with other artistes, but now I have my two singles to my name”, he narrates.

Namely, “Bibondo” and “I miss you”, his songs are not romantic, but patriotic as he explains.

“I always have a message that I want to transfer through a song, but I sing the normal life, the kind of life that we all share. I base on patriotism because the youths have to understand the love that their parents had for their country to fight for it”, he explained.

The retired soldier explains that his purpose is not to make money but to inspire the youths and enjoy his passion.

Padiri as a solider in the former Rwanda Patriotic Army‭. ‬Photo‭: ‬Courtesy‭.‬

“I am not doing this for money because I have businesses that I run on the side. I want to inspire people and enjoy my hobby”, he comments.

He keeps on adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted artist’s operations as there are no more concerts. He explains that this limits the popularity of their artworks.

 The father of four winds up reiterating the shock received by friend relatives when they got to know he is beginning his musical career.

“Of course, they were surprised! They couldn’t imagine an old man like me singing. Despite that, they gave me a positive feedback which encouraged me to move on”, he happily says.

The 47-year-old advises his age mates that they are still able to express their talents despite age constraints.

“Do not mind about people’s reactions, they limit you. So, I ask all old people to get out of the comfort zone. I am sure that any farther, they can go”, he concludes.

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