Emmanuel Sibomana, 29, is photographer, video editor and also an actor with Urunana Development Communication, a local non-government organisation advocating behaviour change through radio drama. The organisation has a show on the BBC Kinyarwanda channel (BBC Gahuza) that is also rebroadcast on Radio Rwanda. Richard Mugarura recently had a chat with him on how he managed to be what he is:
How did you become an actor?
I noticed my talent at an early age, when I was in primary one. I was inspired by Sibomana Athanase who was a journalist and presenter of a programme on Rwandan culture and history called Igitaramo, on Radio Rwanda. I listened to Ikinamico that aired on radio by local actors known as Indamutsa. One day, I wrote the names of my favorite actors on my third term report and was beaten by my parents. This threatened my passion for acting, but I continued to nurture my passion for journalism and drama.
And when did you start acting with Urunana?
In 2011, I started acting in Isano show on Radio Rwanda, as Marcel. It had many fans. Later, in February 2012, I received a phone call from Urunana inviting me for an interview. I was the best among the many people invited for interviews. In the play, I act as Patrick Musonera, the son of Cesiriya.
So, did you abandon school for acting?
I completed my secondary education in 2007 at Nyakabanda Secondary School in Muhanga District. At the same time, acting was in me and I couldn’t stop the passion. So I decided to build it until I found myself were I am today.
Apart from acting, I am also a gospel singer—I try to deliver my message through songs. I have so far released two gospel songs: Abana b’abantu and Nakwitura iki. I am preparing to release a video of Nakwitura iki soon.
Do you have any formal job from which you earn a living?
I work at Tv10 and Radio 10 as a field photographer. I edit the videos and pictures before they are aired on television. However, I am planning to go back to study at university to sharpen my skills in journalism. I am also planning to learn international languages like French, English and Swahili so that I can communicate my message more effectively and reach beyond borders.
How do you relate with your fans?
My fans always want to mimic, and I to take it easy.
Who is your favorite singer or actor?
My favorite musician is Celine Dion. I also like Nigerian actors; that is why I am always watching Africa Magic, during my free time.
What challenges do you face in your career?
Strangers, especially women, who recognize and hug me, are a challenge. Another thing is that most people think what I am while acting, is what I am in real life.
Any advice to fellow actors?
Actors should show up at least fifteen minutes before the audition; be courteous, but don’t be too talkative. Don’t pester crew members or fellow actors with idle conversation. Spend your time privately making yourself ready.