Celebrating Minani Rwema’s life

Music lovers gathered on Friday night for a tribute concert dedicated to deceased musician Minani Rwema at Kigali Serena Hotel.

Dubbed Umurage Nyawo Minani Rwema Concert, the event was organised by a team of Rwandan Diaspora students through their ‘Critical Thinking for Peace’ initiative.

Hosted by Aimable Twahirwa, the concert was well attended.

Renowned traditional musicians like Masamba Intore, Maria Yohana Mukankuranga, Patrick Gihana and Jean-Marie Muyango performed. The fallen musician’s records were also sang by a number of other local artistes like Jules Sentore, Mani Martin, Inanga instrumentalist Deo Munyakazi, Andy Bumuntu, Audiah Intore, Knowless Butera and young artistes from Urugero Music Academy who said they were inspired by the legendary artiste.

Each of the artistes performed at least one of Rwema’s songs to respect the aim of the concert.

‘Malaika Ange’, performed by Knowless Butera and ‘Sur la Terre’, the closing song at the concert, were among the songs that excited revellers.

Each artiste had a message for the late Rwema, mostly on how he inspired their own music careers.

Clementine Uwitonze, commonly known by her stage name Tonzi, said she had fond memories of Rwema, and that he helped build her career in gospel music. Through him, she got the opportunity to have her first regional performance in Congo Brazzaville in 2003, she said.

Mani Martin said, “Thanks to Minani, I learnt that I could make money from my music. I will never forget that he played a big role when I got my first deal as a musician.”

After the concert, Jackline Umuliza, Rwema’s wife, told The New Times that ‘a long-time dream had been realised’.

“I feel so happy. My heart is now strong because paying tribute to my husband, Minani, with the public, has been my wish for years. Also, my children have witnessed who their father really was to the public. My son used to ask me what his father was like because he died just months after he was born. It is a real blessing,” she said.

With her parents and two children, Umuliza thanked concert-goers, the Diaspora students who put it all together, and all the artistes who supported the concert.

She also thanked her parents and siblings who have been by her side since she lost her husband before performing Wagiye Uri Rwema, alongside Mani Martin, Aimable Twahirwa, and Jean de Dieu Munyakazi, the deceased’s nephew.

Her mother, Mutabayire, gave an emotional message that left Umuliza in tears, and her father gave her a house that he said she can use to pull resources to raise the children.

As the concert came to an end, Sylvain de Joie Ifashahayo and Derrick Murekezi, the concert coordinators recognised, with prizes, all who made the concert a success, before the main acts were joined by revellers to perform some of Rwema’s songs in conclusion.

It has been 10 years since Rwema passed away at Amalita Hospital in India.