Hagenimana: The blind singer with a golden voice

THIRTY SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Fabian Hagenimana is determined to make a living as an artiste. For him, blindness was not a source of despair but a motivating factor to pursue success whatever the cost.
Fabien Hagenimana has proved disability is not inability. (Zachariah Umutoni)
Fabien Hagenimana has proved disability is not inability. (Zachariah Umutoni)

THIRTY SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Fabian Hagenimana is determined to make a living as an artiste. For him, blindness was not a source of despair but a motivating factor to pursue success whatever the cost.

While still in his infancy, tragedy came knocking on their door when he lost his elder brother, killed by bees as he climbed up a bee-hive in the neighbourhood.

In Primary four, he dropped out of school because of lack of tuition, and later joined an arts academy to study music. He recalls that there were many options to offer at the school, like massage, but for him it had to be music because he was very passionate about it.

After dropping out of school, life became difficult because he was not able to land a job. Instead, he chose to make a living through the one thing that he was talented in and which was also his hobby, music. So he joined a group, Urukundo Jock based at Peage, near Sainte-Famille Catholic church, in Kigali.

The co-operative registered initial success in the beginning as they used to stage many concerts. However, disagreements started to arise because they had a lot of problems like lack of musical instruments. Later, the group members separated and Hagenimana’s brief honey moon was over.

He decided to embark on a solo-career, and started scouting for places where he could get deals to perform, and lady luck seemed to be smiling down on him. He got a contract to be performing live-music at Africana hotel in Nyamirambo in March the previous year.

Hagenimana also doubles as a music instructor and most times he goes to clients’ homes to teach them vocals and percussions. “I normally teach my students twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays; I also get to earn from other sources; most of my friends are musicians and as such whenever they have to perform at an event, they ask me to perform along with them,” he adds.

He reveals that being born with a disability should not discourage people because even a disabled person can use his other senses to do something profitable.

Hagenimana urges young people to strive for self-reliance and develop themselves and their country.

He was born in 1978 in Butare District in the Southern Province, in a family of four children.

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