Indian singer, composer, writer and actor SUHAIL ZARGAR was recently in Rwanda, where he staged a musical performance as part of activities to mark the World Refugee Day.
The singer travelled to the country under the auspices of the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Zargar visited the Kiziba Refugee Camp in Karongi District, Western Province, where national celebrations were held, on June 20, before returning to Kigali, where he staged a concert at the Kigali Marriot Hotel.
The concert was part of a cultural evening organised by the UNHCR and MIDIMAR as part of events to mark World Refugee Day.
At the event, the singer unveiled his single, Oh My Rwanda, a song that celebrates the Rwandan spirit in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The New Times’ MOSES OPOBO caught up with him and engaged him on a couple of issues, including the idea of his composition, Oh My Rwanda. Excerpts:
Tell us a little more about yourself:
Suhail Zargar is a singer, composer, and writer based in Bombay, India. I compose my music and write my lyrics. I am also an actor. I have done pop music, TV music and Bollywood music.
My first EP was released in 2015, and it was called Aatish, it was a philosophical video and if you see it you won’t even recognise me yet if features only me. It’s a motivational song. The lyrics at the end say something like “I will never give up. I will do whatever I have to do.”
After that, I did O Meri Jaan, which talks about how to raise a girl child like a princess. There were 32 Indian celebrities involved in the video of that song. I’m very much into social causes. I’m a commercial artiste, but my heart and soul are there for social causes as well.
How did you end up in Rwanda for the World Refugee Day?
Project Pride, a musical project which I started a few months back. The idea is to go and do my concert and I pick up on some NGOs or organisations which are already doing some good work on the ground, then generate funds for them.
I was happy to start the first project that goes by the name of Happy Tribe, and the tribe just means a group of people. The tribe is basically the women’s cause, because I believe that women are the reason for happiness all across the globe and they are very efficient, and if we give a little bit more to the woman in terms of power and empowerment, they can do much more than men.
I was lucky enough to meet Almas Virani, who is the CEO of Express Her, an online platform whose purpose is to connect, celebrate and uplift women worldwide, and because of her I’m here in Rwanda and that is how this Happy Tribe thing started. Rwanda has been developed after whatever bad things that happened here partly by women.
Honestly speaking previously I didn’t know much about Rwanda except for what I learned from a Hollywood film but when I started my research I found out so many great things apart from the sad things which had happened. And I was blessed that I made a song for Rwanda. It just happened.
Tell us about the song, Oh My Rwanda:
The original title was Remarkable Rwanda, but I had to change because I think that’s the brand name for the country’s tourism campaign. Oh My Rwanda is a song that is dedicated to Rwanda and Rwandans. It’s not a song I made for any commercial purpose. It’s a gift to the Rwandan people and the spirit of going through what they went through and in just over 20 years they have made this country proud.