His personality is adorable. Willy Ndahiro, is sociable, active and enjoys hanging out, despite having worked as a presidential guard for 10 years.
Ndahiro was born in Bujumbura, Burundi on April 1, 1976, to Jean Pierre Ndahiro and Re’oncie Nyirasafari. He attended primary education at Ecole Primaire de la Nation before enrolling at College de la Fratermite secondary school for his secondary education.
In 1993, he returned to Rwanda with his family and joined the Rwanda Patriotic Army, now Rwanda Defence Force. He later left the army and went back to school where he earned a certificate in Information Technology.
Yet the now noncombatant ditched his certificate in the shelf to work in the film industry, which had always been his dream.
“I liked acting since my childhood, so after fulfilling my mission in the army, I decided to follow my childhood dream,” says Ndahiro.
He says though the army and film making are two different things, both are interesting and have helped broaden his world view.
As a soldier, he rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty. He joined the film industry in 2006 to contribute to the country’s budding film industry.
Ndahiro first worked with Schilo film productions as the main actor in Ikigeragezo Cy’ubuzima(life temptations), a successful series in Rwanda’s film industry. This propelled him to fame in the country’s film industry.
In 2010, he directed and played a lead role in a movie titled, Ay’u Rukundo, followed by Anita, which he directed and acted in in 2012
“I am now working on my debut movies Igisubizo Cy’ubuzima and Data and they will be produced by Vision Promotions Ltd, which is also my company,” he adds.
The 37-year-old filmmaker says he never went to school to study how to be an actor, but talent has helped him produce quality films that can compete at the international level.
Having worked with different professionals like American filmmaker Allick Brown, who directed the Kinyarwanda film, also helped him hone his skills.
He urges the government to help the film industry to develop, although he is happy that the Ministry of Culture is trying to intervene and is currently working on the establishment of Rwanda film makers federation, saying he will help in training and equipping film actors/makers with skills.
The envisaged federation, together with the ministry, will help set rules and regulations that govern the industry and make it easy for us to reach out to potential partners, he added.
The super star says the film industry is steadily growing and has been well embraced by the public though it still has some challenges like lack of skill and sponsorship. He is optimistic that in the next five years actors will be able to survive on this industry.
Ndahiro is also a family man. He is married to Nicole Manirambona and they have two children though she is currently based in Beligium. He loves surfing and karaoke in his free time plus watching movies. He draws his inspiration from legends like Jean Claud Verdam, Denzel Washington and Ghanaian film star Van Vic.
When asked how he balances his work and family, the actor says his wife is also an actress and understands the nature of his work.
“I always inform my wife if I am to feature in any romantic scene and she understands because we’re in the same industry. This field can be tempting sometimes, but I manage because I don’t want to destroy my reputation and family.”
Ndahiro is currently the president of Hillywood Actors Coalition, and also the vice president of the executive committee of the actors and Hills Academy awards due February next year.
He encourages the youth interested in acting to join the industry.