Nina Bola: A Rwandan girl’s passionate journey to fame

Nina Bola, after only four weeks in the Tusker Project Fame (TPF) Academy, Nina the only female contestant may have walked away empty handed but rich with determination to build a music career.
Under the spotlight, Nina glows while loving her crowd.
Under the spotlight, Nina glows while loving her crowd.

Nina Bola, after only four weeks in the Tusker Project Fame (TPF) Academy, Nina the only female contestant may have walked away empty handed but rich with determination to build a music career.

During an exclusive interview with ‘The New Times,’ the young star exposes her passionate journey to fame. She envisions her dreams and reaffirms her fans to expect the best of her.

“I am grateful to have been in the academy and because of the training I received, my performance has improved a lot. Now I can use my music talent better to reach out to my fans,” Bola says.

Born in Kinshasa 23 years ago to a Congolese father and Rwandan mother, she attributes her success to her family’s encouragement and support.

“I started singing at an early age, at my father’s office parties and other family occasions,” she said, “My father is no longer with us, he passed on in the Kenya Airways flight that crashed in Cameroon two years ago while on his way to an assignment in Egypt.”

Bola is a proud mother to three-year-old Aurea Bola and still admires her role models in the music world-- Alicia Keys, Beyonce Knowles and Whitney Houston.

Bola speaks six languages; she is fluent in French, English, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and Lingala. Her family lived in various African countries, which explains her multi- lingual skills. Among all the six languages, Bola said her Rwandan roots will always be highly featured in her music.

“I will try to incorporate a lot of Kinyarwanda so that people who listen to it can always know that am proudly Rwandan.”
Besides her love for music, the young singer had previously never had a chance to properly exploit her musical career.

Inside the Academy
Talking about her TPF experience, she revealed another part of her life known to very few.

Her luck, she said caught up with her in Nairobi, Kenya where she is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Community Development and Communications at Daystar University. She speaks of how she got into the TPF academy.

“I was in Nairobi when they called for auditions and I thought of just going in and trying out. Judge Ian liked my singing instantly and that’s how I got my ticket into the show,” she explained.

That is when she met the two Rwandans—Alpha (who walked away winner of the Rwf35million prize) and Christian; together the threesome represented Rwanda in the show for the very first time.

Like a dream come true, Bola enjoyed the spotlights for a while until the challenges started pouring in.

“At first I felt lost in the academy, I was surrounded by very talented people, and it was a big challenge because I was living with different people from different backgrounds,” she said.

She held onto her anchors who she says were her Rwandan brothers who walked with her throughout the contest, “We helped each other all the way because we have common origin.”

“I had been on probation three times, I didn’t understand it and, I asked the teachers to let me go before the eviction show,” Bola reveals, “... I just wanted out!”

Weeks later she accepts that the TPF Academy has helped her cultivate and showcase her talent which she believes has formed a good platform to launch her music career.

In order to focus on her talent, Bola has dedicated the next few months, to writing songs and hopes to record as soon as possible.

“Wait for my album, its coming,” Bola affirms.
Like the rest of the Rwandan contestants, Bola promises to make, “inspirational music that will propel Rwandans to look into the future with hope.”

“I want Rwandans to be encouraged through my music and smile as they celebrate their beauty and prosperity,” she said.
Other than her own composition Bola has set her eyes on group productions with her fellow contestants.

“We have talked about it and I do hope that we do a song together as a group,” she revealed. 

While at the Academy she thrilled the judges and viewers with her good looks, earning herself the ‘it girl’ title; now she says this will be her bridge to commercial modelling.

“I have seen the pictures they took of me while I was in the house, frankly I was shocked, and yes I am open to showcase my beauty in fashion and commercial modelling,” she says.

She loves music and fashion. It has become her ambitious platform for success as she promises to share her own compositions with her Rwandan fans and those in the region.
Beauty against Alcoholism
Besides love for music, Bola says she is passionate in the fight against alcoholism in Rwanda and the region.

“I feel that alcoholism is major problem in the region yet it has been overlooked, people look at it as something normal, no one seems to care that excessive drinking is dangerous. I want to fight at the forefront to eliminate this scourge,” she passionately explains.

Bola explains that alcoholism is a fundamental cause of unwanted deaths, and should be countered by educating the population against excessive drinking.

“People need to be told that though it’s okay to be social drinkers it is dangerous to become addicts. We can’t accept alcoholism as normal because it is not. My plan is to start my own organisation to spearhead this fight and create awareness,” she adds.

With all these dreams in the pipeline, Bola says while on her journey, she is committed to school, music and later she will take on the fight against alcoholism.

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