Recently, I was arrested. Not the kind of arrest that is a result of being a trouble maker. Rather, I found myself stuck to my seat last Saturday afternoon when I stumbled onto Rwanda Television’s presentation of the second Imbuto Foundation’s Youth Forum held at Serena Hotel.
Imbuto Foundation, created in 2007, is an initiative of the First Lady Jeannette Kagame for the advocacy of female and youth prosperity.
What glued me to my seat, delaying a visit to an aunty I had dressed up to meet, were the three young entrepreneurs who were being awarded for presenting the best business proposals to the Foundation.
One could easily tell why they won. They were just so brilliant even in speech.
Charles Rwomushana, the overall winner almost sent the roof off with his candidness.
“When the competition organizers asked us what we hoped to attain from the competition, some said they wanted to bring a better service, others said they wanted to help Rwandans in one way or another….but I said, “I want to make money!”
He sounded just like Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter in their best selling book: Rich Dad Poor Dad. The book advocates financial independence through investing, real estate, owning businesses, and the use of finance protection tactics.
The most central element stressed by Kiyosaki and Lechter is the advocacy of owning the system or means of production, rather than being an employee of someone else.
He did not mince words, he knew what he wanted and he went for it and one could feel his excitement when he said, “I said I wanted money and now I have my money!!”
With the Frw3.2million Rwomushana had won, he would make tangible his transport company project. He assured all Rwandans that in a few months, he would have alleviated some of their transport problems.
I think this kid is also a poet. Or is he just brilliant. How he compared his prize money with the benefactors was just spot on.
He compared his prize money to a seed (imbuto)! With this money, he believes he will bring his ambitious project to reality. He is holding his future in stride; rather than being an employee of someone else, he will own the means of production.
He, however, needs all the support he can get in order to reap more seeds from that one seed. Fortunately, Imbuto Foundation and our President pledged this.
In order to be number one, Rwomushana had to tussle it out with 14 other brilliant young and potential Rwandan entrepreneurs. I will, however, comment on first runner-up Sandra Mutoni.
She said something so beautiful. Something similar to East, West, North, South, Central; home is best.
“Four years ago, I used to live in Canada. I told my friends that I am going back home (Rwanda) because I believe in the Vision 2020. I came back here and now with Imbuto Foundation and hard work, I believe I will make it,” she said, almost choking me with emotion.
She is a young girl who believed in her country and returned to play her part in rebuilding it. Canada is a developed country. She could have chosen it over developing Rwanda.
She, however, opted to be a lioness that fends for herself than the ox that is fed. There’s this small story about the ox and the lioness. The former bragged to the latter that it was assured of food and shelter and that it couldn’t risk venturing into the unknown.
I will not say what the lioness responded but as you all know, the ox is fed so that it can spend the whole day yoked and doing all kinds of hard labour. Being fed doesn’t mean it eats to its fill. It has no control over its destiny. It is someone’s ‘employee’. And it will definitely end up in someone’s cooking pot.
The message here is simple, let’s believe in ourselves and work hard to attain our dreams. Let’s move away from the brick and mortar ox attitude and embrace our President’s advice on working towards a knowledge-based economy. Let’s be professional.
As First Lady Jeannette Kagame said, professionalism is fundamentally about attitude; it begins in the mind and is an intrinsic part of one’s character.
Rwandans should not work for second place. They should work on winning attitude. They should not opt for a life of free invungule (maize boiled with beans) as rebels claiming they cannot handle life at home. Why opt to work three or more laborious jobs in developed countries with nothing to save in the name of avoiding toiling in one’s own garden for a decent meal?
Farmers are taking modern farming skills and reaping big - look at Starbucks and our coffee farmers’ partnership! Others are transforming their lives with ‘peace’ baskets.
Let’s not be oxen. Let’s believe in and work towards achieving our potentials. Rwomushana, I am looking forward to your transport company. I promise to pay my fare, no lifts.