Sisulu Albertine Kajyambere is the new communications officer at the Kacyiru-based Ishyo Arts Center. In a chat with Moses Opobo she revealed the reason people mistake her for Congolese or West African, and her passion for the arts...
Tell us about your names, their meanings and how you got them
I got all my three names from my dad. He named me after Albertina Sisulu, the wife of the late Walter Sisulu, a prominent South African anti-apartheid activist. My dad admired him so much. As for Kajyambere it means that a person is growing and improving positively or going forward.
I really don’t know the meanings of Sisulu and Albertine. I did some research on the internet but could not find anything. I always remind anyone I know who goes to South Africa to ask but sadly, it hasn’t worked yet either.
What don’t people know about you?
When people hear my name or read “Sisulu”, most of them conclude that “she is Congolese or from West Africa.” They are confused about where I come from. So I want to state it here that I am Rwandan!
What’s your real claim to the arts?
The only background I have in the art is a short play I co-wrote and co-played when I was still in secondary school during English language class. I have always been fascinated by the arts, mostly writing, painting, drawing, and music.
Who are your favorite artistes in Rwanda?
I love Mani Martin; he is an original composer and a great singer. I believe in and tend to like the “working together” thing when it comes to artists too, I love Ishyo Arts Centre as a community of artists and art lovers who give opportunities to talented and unrecognised artists. Also artists of Ivuka Arts for the paintings and sculptures. What they do is art full of creativity.
What do you love most about your job?
It is not only a job, but also feels like home. Actually, I am home. People I work with made it so easy for me to feel at ease, they are strong, motivated, hardworking, helpful and passionate about what they do, and all of that motivates me and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to make it better –the fact that they are always ready to teach, share knowledge in order to improve the population which is the audience using arts and culture.
How did school prepare you for your current job?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in communication from the former National University of Rwanda, Butare. In secondary school (Groupe Scolaire St André in Nyamirambo), I studied languages.
Any event that you consider memorable in your in life?
Getting admition to the former National University of Rwanda’ School of Journalism and Communication was a dream come true! It took me so much to do it; I remember when I was doing languages in secondary school, most people told me that I should have studied sciences, that studying languages wouldn’t take me far professionally.
When I told them I wanted to be a journalist they laughed and made fun of it saying that talking isn’t for girls, comparing it to talking nonsense or “selling words” …things like that.
But I knew deep inside of me that I would use that opportunity not to simply sell words but to mean something good via words, to spread words but as good information to those they are meant for, and I am thankful to God it is what I am doing now with Ishyo.