Jaques Kagabo is the co-founder of Rwanda Updates an events management and multimedia company. He is also the chairman of Rwanda Young Generation Forum. He began as an event’s organiser ten years ago, right after his high school and has never looked back since. He is the man behind the Rwanda Konnect Gala and is currently organising Rwanda Cultural Night for Rwandans living abroad. Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa caught up with the 28- year- old who shared his experience with events organising.
How did you get involved with organising cultural events?
I like traditional music and while in high school, I was part of the school’s cultural troupe dancing as intore (traditional dancer). After high school I spent five years organising all kinds of events, corporate, promotional and cultural events, for different institutions and individuals. However, my heart was more inclined towards cultural shows and I decided to focus more on them.
What are some of the memorable events that you have organised?
I organised the a two- days event ‘Liberators show’ in 2011 that had VIP audience at Kigali Serena Hotel and the ordinary at Amahoro Stadium. It was a successful show because on top of having top regional and local artistes, we had a huge turn up of revelers. What’s more, all big companies and government institutions that sponsored the event were impressed and appreciated the work we did, and it was considered the best and biggest event of the year, by the media. Looking at the pictures just brings a smile on my face.
The other memorable one is the Rwanda Konnect Gala that took place in last year. It was a successful one and we will be organising it every year in December.
You have planned some of the big cultural events and brought big artistes. How has the experience been like for you?
Eight years ago, many Rwandans were not interested in anything to do with culture and cultural events were mostly attended by the elderly. Times have changed now and we are seeing more young people and teenagers attending the shows. The credit goes to the government for investing a lot of effort in the culture and people’s mindsets. It has changed a lot of things in our society.
From your experience how do you describe the cultural music scene in this country?
It has improved in general and people are now interested in learning not just the language and music but also the cultural values.
What have been some of the challenges in this field?
We still have a segment of people in this country who are drawn towards western culture and not interested in our culture. That’s however, a general issue. My biggest challenge is that every event comes with a whole new experience and big events require big investments. I remember some years back where some companies, even when I had the experience, were reluctant to sponsor my events because they thought I was too young to handle events.
What is the inspiration behind the Rwanda Cultural Night and what are your expectations?
Globalisation, technology, and cultural diversity are some of the factors that are detaching members of our society from their culture and cultural values. The Rwanda Cultural Night seeks to bring together Rwandans living abroad in their respective communities across the world to the common table of brotherhood to uphold their uniqueness, ancestral and cultural values, as well as foster their unity. The event will be held in the countries of Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya Belgium, Congo Brazzaville, Canada, USA, UK, Australia and UAE, Dubai from June to August this year.
How do you unwind when you’re not working?
My work is usually hectic and when I get free time, I love to have my ‘me-time’ at home and relax.
What are your top hobbies?
Listening to music, working out in the gym, hanging out with family and friends, watching soccer and documentaries.