New artistes keep making their debut every April as the country commemorates the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. This year, one such a singer was Elisa Ndahiro Rwamahe, also known as Voice of Freedom.
Born in 1978 in Ntungamo, Uganda, Ndahiro loved singing from childhood and enrolled in a church choir. But it wasn’t until July 2, 2008, that he released his first single.
However, his two commemoration songs, Komera mbyeyi and Wikwishisha muvandimwe were among the most played songs in April. “The former is letting people know that Rwanda is a parent who needs to keep strong despite the loss of her many children. The latter calls out for perpetrators of genocide to come out and apologise instead of living with guilt for the rest of their lives,” explains the veteran soldier-turned singer.
Ndahiro thinks that such artistes keep coming up each year because people are getting to understand the concept of genocide. “People who witnessed these horrors as children are now grown up. Such songs not only remind us of our terrible past but they also give survivors the strength to move on, and give dignity to the lost ones,” he explains.
His first song titled, Mwebwe maboko - is a war song that highlights the success of RPF. “That song is a reflection of the wars that we have fought: one, the RPF liberation war of 1990-1994, and two, the infamous Abacyengezi insurgents of 1996-2000,” explains Ndahiro.
In September 2008, he released Komera ntwari - another war song. This is more of a congratulatory song that praises the army for its selflessness as in its quest of national security.
“RPF soldiers stopped genocide and people are now rebuilding themselves, so why not pat them on the shoulder for a job well done?” wonders the singer who so far has six songs.
Except for the two commemoration songs, the rest have Reggae beats. “Reggae appeals to many and it’s good to dance to. I want to promote reggae in this country,” says the great fan of Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, R. Kelly and UB 40.
Ndahiro adds that he will be singing mainly about Rwandan heroes and songs about genocide.
His other song, Why, is in English and it looks at conflicts in Africa and violence in homes. “Why do we have all these wars, why are our families no longer the way they used to be…?”
His next song, Ruramira, will be courtesy of Kingdom Production Center. It will be exploring Rwanda’s rapid development in all sectors: education, farming, ICT, infrastructure, etc.