Genocide captures more attention– movie star tells his story

The trend has changed over the years, and the way Rwanda was joined by her friends two weeks ago to mark the 15th anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide against the Tutsi, has gotten better.
John Nzaramba
John Nzaramba

The trend has changed over the years, and the way Rwanda was joined by her friends two weeks ago to mark the 15th anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide against the Tutsi, has gotten better.

Fifteen years after the horrific Genocide, a lot has been done in the country and the world has ensured an attitude of never again with Rwandans spearheading the campaign never minding to go as far as it takes.

Most of them have embarked on telling the story over and over again to show the negative impact of the Genocide while promoting unity and reconciliation.

The latest case in point has been the recent venture into the film industry in the hope that people are able to watch a movie for a short time and get to know things that took place over a long period of time.

At the launch of the most recent home documented film, ‘Tears of Rwanda’, a movie that depicts the horrible acts and merciless behaviour that characterised the 1994 massacres, I caught up with the movie director, John Nzaramba.

With a final sigh of relief as if to suggest a break through, he begins to narrate the moving story of how a distorted childhood as a result of his country’s dreadful history forced him to join the film industry despite not having the resources and the initial knowledge to infiltrate it.

The 30 year-old, and the fifth born in a family of 18, recalls how at the age of 7, his average well off father unknowingly prompted him to find his own means to get a school and tuition which he successfully did.

“One evening my dad was supplying us with books and pens as we prepared to go to school the next day and when it was my turn to receive, they ran out before I could get my share. Mother tried to console and calm me down but to no avail,” Nzaramba remembers with a tinge of nostalgia in his tone.

He recalls the feeling of dejection and sadness that took over him shortly after this incident. This forced him to seek help from a near by Canadian funded orphanage primary school where students never paid school fees to explain his situation and try to determine his fate.

“Fortunately when I told the headmaster that I had parents who could not afford my school fees because of the big number of children in our family, he understood. The school offered to pay my tuition until I completed senior four,” a now joyful father of two said.

Upon entry and completion of high school, Nzaramba joined an institution of higher learning where he pursued further studies in Tourism and Hotel management and since then he has never looked back.

And when a chance finally came for him and some of his surviving relatives to return home, he found work in some of Kigali’s renowned hotels like Laico Hotel (former Hotel Novotel Umubano), Kivu Sun Hotel and Steep Hotel among others.

The former Front Office Operation manager in most of the hotels and public houses where he has worked speaks with passion and does not regret how he ended up in the film industry.

“It was while still in Uganda when I first acted in a movie, Heaven’s gate and Hell’s flames that I realised I could do even more. I acted as a stubborn construction manager who eventually got saved before dying in a fatal car accident after so many attempts by different preachers but in vain all along,” Nzaramba explains this  with infatuation and charisma so conspicuously written all over his face.

Two years ago he joined Rwanda Movie Galaxy and helped complete and translate into English a documentary which eventually became a film that has even attracted Government recognition.

‘Tears of Rwanda’ was acted by mostly survivors of the 1994 mass killings and some refugees who were directly or indirectly affected and they include Nzaramba.

Most of them genuinely argue that the Genocide deserves much more voice than it has now and for him, the struggle has just began.


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