Musicians in drive to support vulnerable Genocide widows

A new campaign, dubbed ‘Gira Ubuntu’, has been launched with an aim of supporting Genocide widows through different musical activities.
Bruce Melodie (L) and Jay Polly did enough to get the crowd on their feet. (Stephen Kalimba)
Bruce Melodie (L) and Jay Polly did enough to get the crowd on their feet. (Stephen Kalimba)

A new campaign, dubbed ‘Gira Ubuntu’, has been launched with an aim of supporting Genocide widows through different musical activities.

Nyamirambo-based recording house Touch Records got the campaign underway ahead of the beginning of the 21st commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The campaign was launched during a concert last Saturday at Kaizen Club Kabeza.

According to organisers, the drive will raise funds to support three vulnerable families of Genocide widows under Avega, a Genocide widows association, in a village in Rwamagana District.

Emcee Phil Peter reaches out for money to donate.

Speaking to The New Times, Theodomir Mutesa, CEO, Touch Records, said the recording label came up with the idea as part of their activities in line with the 21st observance of the Genocide. “We chose widows because very often people do not think about the hardships they go through to sustain their families.”

“We approached officials who helped us identify the most vulnerable households which lost the head of family in the Genocide, or genocide widows who are childless and are living in precarious conditions.

“We will reach out to them during the commemoration week and this is something we will be doing every year,” said Mutesa.

The launch concert, which kicked off at around 10:30p.m, featured performances by, among others, Jay Polly, who is the face of the campaign, Touch Records latest signing Lilliane Umutoni, aka Tony, and Bruce Melodie.

Tony opened the show with her hit Sawa-Sawa and her latest song Ndagukumbuye. She was followed by Bruce Melodie who delivered the much revered hits Ntundize ,Ndakwanga, among others, which came out well in the well-engineered sound.

The night was also graced by Gakondo traditional singers Massamba Intore and legendary Maria Yohana, who said that they had been invited by Jay Polly and had come to show their support and solidarity with Genocide victims.

Jay Polly headlined the night with an impressive live performance of the songs that have made him such a household name, including Icyizere, Deux Fois Deux, Malaika, and Oh My God. Jay Polly called on Rwandans to use the upcoming commemoration period to reflect, gather courage to continue rebuilding the country, and support those in need.

“We want to encourage all Rwandans to think about the plight of widows, some of whom have to depend on handouts. As a young generation, we need to think of ways we can help. We cannot wait for the government or donors to do everything,” Jay Polly said.

People contribute toward the cause to support Genocide widows. (All photos Stephen Kalimba)

His manager, Clesse Jean Mark, one of the brains behind the initiative, said that given Rwanda’s unique history, the youth have the task to be the change the country needs to see by playing their rightful part, including through making the most of their talents. Jay Polly was joined by Bruce Melodie to perform their latest collaboration Celibateur, while TBB’s Tino also joined the Tuff Gang rapper on stage to perform their hit Vuza Ingoma to the delight of the crowd.

Tino, who also co-MCeed, encouraged the crowd to contribute toward the cause by putting money in a donation box, with many responding positively.

The crowd enjoyed Massamba's Perfomance.

The audience enjoyed the performances generally, but it is worth noting that the evening belonged to the pair of Massamba and Maria Yohana who gave a rare performance in a nightclub.

Backed by the Gakondo group band, Massamba did a couple of his popular songs like Jyana umucyo muri Africa, Wirira, and Nyaruguru which got the crowd on their feet as the danced the night away.

He was later joined by Maria Yohana who opened her evening performance with her signature song Intsinzi and Rwanda Nziza, igniting some nostalgic emotions among the revellers.

Massamba then invited upcoming artiste Tony to perform Gira Impamvu.

The song challenges youthful and upcoming musicians to have a clear vision and write and record songs that have an impact on society.

Maria Yohana later returned to sing with Massamba rendition of Gira Ubuntu and it is at this time a donation box was placed near the stage for anyone willing to support the cause.

And, according to Mutesa, Touch Records, with the support of Gakondo Group and Maria Yohana are preparing a much bigger concert in the coming days to raise more funds to the widows.

By press time, it was not clear how much had been raised on Saturday night.



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