Meet one of the few rising illustrators in Rwanda

Francois Regis Muhirwa. /Courtesy

Most of us could have seen a picture of late Dj Miller mixing music for Kenny Rodgers, Kobe Bryant and her daughter and Manu Dibango. The drawing which rotated around the death of the three icons was circulated widely.

The 26-year-old Francois Regis Muhirwa, an illustrator is the one behind it. The artist fell the need to immortalise the three legends, each in their own category.


“After Dj Miller passed, many people were hurt. I wanted to make a picture to instil hope in them that he was in a better place,” explains Muhirwa


Muhirwa didn’t expect much after posting the picture. But Miller’s wife reposted the picture on Instagram, and that to him was a mission accomplished. To him, drawing is more than a hobby or career.


one of his illustrations. / Courtesy

“Among the few things that I love, drawing is closest to my heart. They say everyone has their mission on earth. So, when I am drawing, I feel like I am doing what God sent me here to do,” he said, adding that he started drawing when he was only four, sketching cars.

“When I was young, my elder brother and cousins loved to draw. I would imitate them whenever I saw them drawing something. But some of them no longer draw,”

His talent was discovered when he was eight years old. He would draw things that he describes as looking “weird”, but it was perfection at eight years. His parents were first concerned that his education was threatened by his passion for drawing.

“They told me that in order for me to draw, I should be intelligent; score high marks in class,” And that is what he did.

At 19, when he finished his high school studies he worked in a restaurant as a waiter. This was yet to be the key to his career.

“There came a customer who saw me drawing. He asked for my contacts, but a year passed without a word from him,”

The man called a year later, that there was a job opportunity for him in a certain company and he applied. Muhirwa got his first job as an illustrator, and he believes he learned from it.

“I knew how to draw, but they taught me how to do it professionally. I used to draw for fun but I was told that for a book that many people are going to read, I have to follow certain rules,”

He currently works for other people but also himself. He believes it isn’t good to be fully employed by other people, because he also has projects to implement.

“I hope that everything I do, whether its drawing or animation, helps the African society. Many people think we have to do business to develop, but the media can play a big role in development, exposure, and also for Africans to be proud of themselves,” he further says.

Muhirwa also advises parents to invest in their children’s talents, if they can, because it could help in the children’s future success.

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