Joseph Makombe Nikoshwa a.k.a. Makonikoshwa has established himself as Rwanda’s music Ambassador Abroad. A one man guitarist, Makonikoshwa specializes in the traditional tunes and the golden oldies.
Makonikoshwa has come a long way in his career and he is determined to climb to even greater heights. Growing up, Makonikoshwa lived in relative humble family, but he never allowed this to taint his ambitions.
He entered into the music mainstream in 1990. He was not famous until the year 2000 when one of his most liked debut albums called (Agaseko), meaning the (Beauty of a Rwandan woman’s smile) was played. Notching up his album (Agaseko) was later followed by (Nd’Umushumba), which earned him a PAM Awards.
That was followed by his performance of the same song on the sound track of the (Nkunda kuragira), literary meaning (I enjoy grazing), which greatly enhanced his profile in the East African audience.
Born in December, 1974, Makonikoshwa’s parents, like many other Rwandans who were hounded by-the then regime were forced to flee the country. They settled in Mubende district in the neighbouring country of Uganda.
Makonikoshwa’s music draws strongly on his upbringing in exile, and he sites the powerful singing of his aunt (who was a musician) as his greatest inspiration, and ultimately as a key motivator in his resolve to pursue his musical career.
As time went on the soloist became more enthusiastic, trying to adopt better means of advancing in his career to the international level.
The star started staging in several concerts within the country and outside the country so as to sell his music and at the same time profile his country.
He composes and sings reggae, zouk, RnB and soukous songs. Alongside his career; the star ensured time alongside his career and formed the Kinya-rwanda Nite in Uganda.
Makonikoshwa is continuing to work towards her upcoming albums. Like many of his fellow musicians, Makonikoshwa says that whenever gigging, he tries his best to capture the attention of the revellers.
To achieve this, he starts with the song his fans like and probably know. The singer has so far released 16 songs. His first album is called (Agaseko), meaning the (Beauty smile of a Rwandan woman).
The album was produced in Namex studio-Uganda. (Ndumushumba), (I’m a Shepard), produced by BK studio-Kampala, and (Hora). Some of his singles include: (Ninde) (Who) and (Mujyane) (Take her).
In the song (Mujyane), says Makonikoshwa was advising men who tend to be worried by what they possess in order to marry.
“Never mind about the property, because if she really loves you too, she will get to accept the situation until you both develop yourselves,” says Makonikoshwa.
He added that his song (Mujyane) is based on a real life today. Many young men develop the fever (lack of enough possessions), especially when they intend to look for lifetime partners.
The song Nd’Umushumba, is a Kinyarwanda idiom for a Shepard. He says the song is derived from his experience. As a child, Makonikoshwa used to help his parents to graze the calves.
While talking to The New Times, the self-styled and gratis musician claimed that just like his fellow Rwandan artists, they are plenty of challenges they meet while trying to develop on their career.
“We all experience the same challenges, though sometimes they differ depending on one’s capability and influence,” said Makonikoshwa.
“Much as the local musicians are struggling to improve on the country’s music industry, the ministry concern does not give us enough support as if music is not among the fields that generate income to the country” he complains.
Surprisingly, he claims, much attention and support is being noticed in other fields, the likes of football and Volleyball. He further requested the government of Rwanda to play a big role in promoting its music industry, saying that the music industry is crucial in the development of the country.
“In fact, the music industry is one of the sectors that attract tourists in the country. So, it’s high time the government gave it a unique attention if it’s targeting tourists,” urged Makonikoshwa.