Music is my inspiration, soul food and a good companion that I have known all my life. Specifically, I am in love with dancehall music and this deep affection goes way back.
Early last month, I met friends at Bourbon Coffee, one of Kigali’s finest coffee shops when Cindy, one of my friends mentioned that Rwandatel, a telecommunication company she works for is bringing Sean Paul to Rwanda for their mega launch.
“No, it is quite impossible, Sean is workin’ on his fourth album and can not be making any trips to Africa,” I answered back with a big laugh.
“Well, let us drop it, after all Cindy does not seem to be sure of what she is saying,” Samantha added. We discussed a lot of different topics but my mind was not settled.
“If Sean Paul is really coming to town, then he must sign my autograph,” I thought to myself.
Henceforth, I made my own inquiries and according to many, it was true. Yes, it was not just Sean but Shaggy “Mr. Lover” was slated to perform at the MTN Rwanda 10th Anniversary.
Sooner than later, adverts started running in the Newspaper that I work for! I was extremely excited. I knew that a time has come for me to watch them perform live, with my own eyes!
Sean Paul was set to perform at the Rwandatel GSM launch, a week before Shaggy did. As if to prepare for the fate that would befall me, I woke up very early on December 4th 2008.
I was the second person to report to work, so I started re-organising my books on the desk such that I can begin the day’s work when our news editor walked in and suggested that I cover the arrival of Sean Paul for our news pages.
“Yes, gladly I will,” I replied as if it was one of the usual assignments that I had been given.
The moment he walked out of the door into his office, “I jumped up and raised my fist in the air, yes, yes, yes, thank you Jesus,” I screamed. It was unbelievable!
“Good things happen to those who deserve them,” I murmured.
The start was set to arrive in the next five hours so I had all the time to call five of my friends and promised that I would pass their greetings to the star.
Time check, 10:45am, our photographer, John Mbanda and I headed for Kigali International Airport. To John, this was one of the assignments but for me, well…….a dream come true.
At the airport, we were given VIP passes to wait for the star in the VIP lounge. As I waited impatiently, minutes turned to hours and finally he arrived aboard Ethiopian Airlines. He had been flanked by about eight other Jamaicans but….well…..that was expected.
He was clad in normal jeans, a grey T-shirt and a buggy jacket. “Oh God, my eyes got teary, this was for real!”
We went to the press room where I got the chance to get up close and do my job. I must confess sometimes it is really hard to interview someone that you once believed that you would never see, later on get so close to.
Thank God I had organised whatever I had to ask him otherwise, I would have concentrated on gazing at the star instead.
The interview went well; I was in fact moved by the fact that he has so much love for Africa and considers that Jamaicans originate from the African continent.
Is it not amazing that your very own superstar can reveal that he was so touched by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis?
“It was a very emotional time but I am here to spread peace and love through my riddem music,” he said with a sympathetic tone.
We later chatted about so many things, just like old friends do. This time I told him about my love for his music and confessed that he has been my companion for so many years despite the fact that he was not aware.
We hugged and all the flash lights were on me. I felt like a star, I even had the chance to speak all the Jamaican terms that I had learnt over the years through his music.
Sean is so “down to earth” just like any other person. He signed on my t-shirt so we later had a blast at the big show that was held at Amahoro stadium.
This is a memorable experience that I owe so much to Rwandatel and of course The New Times. I managed to see Shaggy as well, but did not get up close since the organisers were too excited that they did not let the fans mingle with the star.
All the same, 2008 will leave me with deep memories. Let us see what 2009 has to offer.