I’m just proud to be part of rewriting Rwanda's story - Sherrie Silver

Sherrie was also among the performers at Kwita Izina Concert in Kigali Arena, on September 7. Photos by Emmanuel Kwizera.

She pulled off an epic dance show at the Kwita Izina concert, last weekend, along with the energetic performance by her co-dancers, the children who only rehearsed for two hours.

Sherrie Silver was also one of the namers of the baby gorillas at 15th edition of the annual Kwita Izina event and expressed her pride in what the country has achieved.

Together with her mother, they formed a dance workshop where they paid health insurance for 1,000 vulnerable people in Nyamirambo.

The New Times’ Sharon Kantengwa caught up with 25-year-old actor, choreographer and philanthropist, who talked about her journey in dance, conservation and her love for children.

The 25-year-old (holding a mic) was among the key namers of the 25 baby gorillas at the 2019 Gorilla Naming ceremony, on September 6

As one of the baby gorilla namers, what do you make of the conservation journey in Rwanda, and what are some of the lessons learnt?

This trip has been so helpful because I thought I knew about Rwanda’s conservation, but my knowledge has tripled.

I’ve always known Rwandans love gorillas, love the environment through banning the plastic bags, and Umuganda (monthly community work), but with the Visit Rwanda campaign, I’ve seen that they are doing so much more and that they really care about the environments.

Of all the countries I’ve been to around the world, this is the country that is 100 per cent fighting for the environment and a good example for other countries.

You also organised a dance workshop in Nyamirambo with your mother, what inspired the event?

It’s interesting working with my mom because I know that she always wants the best. I’m obviously business-minded so we think different but she’s the safest.

At the workshop, we were able to pay health insurance for 1,000 people and I am proud of the health insurance here, giving people with less income opportunity to receive healthcare. It shows that we do not have too much but we are still able to give to the community and empower people.

What does dance mean to you as a philanthropist and performer?

I have been using dance as one of the talents I have to give me a platform to express ourselves because people used to think dancing was just moving the body but actually you can create a dance to create art to express a message and teach people a lot and so I put up videos for the children to watch and they love the videos because I dance with kids in the videos a lot.

You have worked with children on so many projects. What drives you toward children?

Kids are innocent and they are the only human beings that don’t have any ill intentions, they do everything out of innocence and it’s our responsibility as adults collectively look after the children of the world and as Rwandese to take care of children in Rwanda.

At the age of only 25, you have received so many accolades and were appointed as the UN advocate for Rural Youth this year. What would you attribute your success to?

It’s been lots of prayer and fasting, hard work. Everything I’ve done, including the“Wall Rebuilders” project for sewing machines for women in Nyamirambo, I always tell God these are His children and His people and I just want to be used to help them and give the glory back to Him.

Sherrie Silver is a UK-based Rwandan multi-style choreographer

Also, try to be unique and to do something different.

I’m somebody, if you give me a hip hop song or a pop song, I’m going to put African dance in it or commercial dance. For example, at the concert I knew that the concert was about Kwita Izina so I put together a video which shows me meeting the gorillas, naming them, and made it special by talking about why we are there.

Anything that I do, I think a lot about making it special and not just going to perform.

Being a Rwandan, based in Los Angeles and the UK, what can you say you are most proud of what your country has achieved?

Being Rwandan means a lot because we are a small country, however, I feel we are bigger in capacity than the size of the land and I just wanted to change the narrative of Rwanda.

When I’m in the West, and I tell people I’m from Rwanda, the first thing they ask is if it is still safe here. So I want to change the narrative of Rwanda. 

I feel it’s the responsibility of artistes in our country to use our platforms to show people how amazing our country is, and tell the new story of Rwanda.

I’m just proud to be part of rewriting our story.


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