Manzi's memorable journey to 'Hillywood'

Vianney Kayumba, aka Manzi has received film awards as Rwanda’s best actor (2014) and also as the most popular actor.

Vianney Kayumba, aka Manzi has received film awards as Rwanda’s best actor (2014) and also as the most popular actor. He is most famous for his role as the main protagonist in the serialized film titled, Amarira y'urukundo.

Manzi has also starred in other famous local movies, like Intarey’ingore, Kaliza and Siryohereze, a gospel movie that won an award in 2014.

Who is Kayumba?

Vianney Kayumba was born in 1986 in Luwero, central Uganda to John Ngarambe and Antoinette Mukantagara.

The 29-year-old had a few years of his primary education in Uganda before his family returned to Rwanda. He studied at Nyamata High School and then Innovation Business Technical College. He is now the assistant director at Kigali Film and Television School (KFTV) located at Niza Plaza.

Journey to Hillywood

Around 2001-2002, Manzi acted in a school play organised by ZOA, an AIDS support and awareness organisation. “My role in that play was that of a counselor. After that, there was a long pause because he never considered being a full time actor by then.

In 2009, he got a job with Phone Village at Rubangura House. And among the customers who frequented the place, were scouts who spotted talent in him. “One day, someone approached me and said that I’d make a good actor. He then talked to my boss and I was taken for casting.

“That’s how I ended up in Amariray’urukundo– a film with 15 parts so far,” he says. And like they say, the rest is history.

On awards and idols

Manzi has received numerous awards from the 1000 Hills and Rwanda Film Awards. He, however, says that he mostly treasures the Most Popular Actor award (Amariray’urukundo, 2014) because it’s the most outstanding. “Being recognized by the audience is a great achievement. Hearing kids scream your name everywhere you go means that people appreciate what you do,” says the actor who enjoys watching war films. His favourite actors are Sylvester “Rambo” Stallone, Jason Statham and William Levy

Piece of advice

The actor advises that talent should be groomed at an earlier stage once it is spotted. “If I had resumed my career fourteen years ago when I first acted, I’d be greater than I am today.” He adds that some parents bring kids at KFTV cursing that kids have refused to go for other studies and opt for acting lessons. “But that’s better than wasting time on lessons that will be useless for you in future.” He reasons that if WDA could shape the education system along such lines, Rwanda will be surprised at how much talent is being wasted.