IT has been an exciting and busy year in Rwanda’s growing entertainment industry. The annual year-ender review recounts the people and inspiring stories that changed Rwanda’s showbiz.
What can one not say about Rwanda’s entertainment industry going by what transpired in the year-ending? From the premiere of inspiring movies, release of great tracks, countless awards, emergence of new artistes, to incredible concerts!
2011 ushered in excellent music videos. Most of them were of good quality compared to previous releases. These include Miss JoJo’s “Hooked On You” Dream Boyz’ “Bella”, Urban Boyz’ “Indahiro”, Tom Close’s ‘Nkomeza’, Knowles’ ‘Byemere’, and King James’ ‘Narashize’.
Bralirwa, Rwanda’s leading brewer, organized the first-ever Primus Guma Guma Superstar music competition. The winner, Tom Close, received a grand prize of Rwf6million in addition to a one year contract with Bralirwa as a Primus Beer Ambassador and also recorded a song and its video dubbed “Having a Good Time” with Jamaican-American singer, Sean Kingston.
The Primus Guma Guma Superstar grand concert was graced by Sean Kingston at Amahoro Stadium on September 17.
Other notable concerts were Knowles’ launch of her debut “Byemere” album that marked the singer’s major comeback, with hits such as ‘“Ibidashoboka”, “Inshuti” and “Byarakomeye”, “Byemere” and “Rukuruzi”.
Kamichi’s second album launch“Umugabirwa”, was billed one of the best concerts that marked 2011. The concert featured Jamaican dancehall artiste Elephant Man, aka Energy God.
Other artistes such as singing sensation Kizito Mihigo, Kitoko, Riderman, Jay Polly, Uncle Austin, DMS, Asher Juno, and many others were equally on hand. They all staged grand concerts that captivated their fans.
However, there are some artistes such as the KGB, who did not release even a song or feature in any concert, and we are not sure whether they stopped singing.
On the gospel scene, the likes of Dominic Nic, Irene Gaby, Aline Gahongayire, Aime Uwimana, Patrick Nyamitari and Blessed Sisters each hosted terrific concerts, and released inspiring spiritual hits. We can only expect a lot more in 2012.
Beauty and confidence
On a positive note, a group of models beckoned at the first-ever ‘Plus-size’ fashion show, dubbed ‘The Alga Plus-Size Fashion Show”, under the theme: ‘Big is Beautiful - Our Size, Our Beauty”.
The glamorous event organised by gospel artiste Aline Gahongayire, made such a huge impact as models took to the catwalk, displaying a vision of style and class in their elegant dresses, while showing off their modelling skills and were extremely confident on the runway.
TPF All Stars
On the regional scene, Rwanda was represented by TPF3 winner Alpha Rwirangira in the Tusker Project Fame All Stars. The competition started on June 26 and ended August14.
Other stars included Hemedi Suleiman and Peter Msechu (Tanzania), Davis Ntare, Caroline Nabulime (Uganda), Amileena Mwenesi, Bernard Ng’anga’ aka Ng’anga’lito and Patricia Kihoro (Kenya).
Rwanda’s Alpha won the competition, alongside Uganda’s Davis and Msechu from Tanzania.
Kigali Up! Music, Crafts Festival
Kigali Up! Music and Crafts Festival was organised by Canada-based Rwandan artiste Mighty Popo, and it attracted bands from DR Congo, Canada, USA, Uganda and France.
Rwanda Film Festival
This year, Rwanda Film Festival (RFF), commonly known as Hillywood, was celebrated under the theme “Africa Celebrated at Hillywood”.
Various local and African films were screened in Kigali and in different parts of the country. Workshops were also conducted to offer Rwandans the opportunity to join the film industry.
Following the success of this year’s 7th edition of Rwanda Film Festival, the Kwetu Film Institute was launched.
The film festival was graced by a delegation of Hollywood stars: Phil Alden Robinson, Carol Littleton, Willie Burton, Lee Daniels, Stephanie, Alfre Woodard, Wynn Thomas, John Bailey, Alen Blake, Deatra Harries, as well as Emmanuel Itier and Lanre Idewu.
During the festival, the US film personalities conducted lessons in acting, producing, script writing, cinematography, sound design and stage and production designs, to dozens of young Rwandans at the Kwetu Film Institute in Gaculiro.
Rwanda Film Festival (RFF) is an initiative of the Rwanda Cinema Centre (RCC), whose main objective is to showcase Rwandan efforts in telling their own stories and exposing them to the wider international audience.
2011 Best Movies
A ground-breaking feature film by Alrick Brown (U.S) and Ishmael Ntihabose (Rwanda), with a majority Rwandan casts, Kinyarwanda was premiered in Kigali after its successful screening in Europe and America.
The Kinyarwanda feature film won the World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic. The film is inspired by true stories of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Africa United”, a sensational film about a group of five children, who walked thousands of miles from Rwanda to South Africa for the World Cup, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in Canada and in the UK at the BFI London Film Festival to great acclaim. Its premiere in Rwanda was also a major success.
Dieudonne Gahizi Ganza’s “The Change and I mean it” won the Best Documentary prize at the 2011 Biomovie Competition, organized by UK’s TVE.