Elvis Manzi Sekamana, 13, has been in the news for all the right reasons. He was the best student at primary level last year scoring a high of 93 percent and last week he was privileged to be among the people to name baby gorillas.
Manzi, now in his first year of secondary school at Green Hills Academy, said that the opportunity to name a gorilla did not only surprise him, but made him feel special.
“I was honoured to be the one representing the other children of Rwanda in the occasion,” he said.
During the Kwita Izina ceremony, Manzi was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Sabine Platner, a multi millionaire and conservationist, Francois Kanimba, the Central Bank Governor, Ian Redmond, UN Ambassador for the Year of the Gorilla, Joe Ritchie RDB’s CEO and Gaetano Kaggwa Mnet’s Studio 53 presenter. All of whom named a baby gorilla each.
“I named my baby Shishikara,” Manzi said. “Shishikara” a Kinyarwanda word meaning courageous was his choice of the three options of names that RDB offered.
His other options were Mutima meaning heart and Mugari meaning large, but for Manzi, it was the name “courage” that struck him the most.
“If it were not for the courageous men and women who fought for this country, then Rwanda would not be where it is today,” he said. “I have put courage as the key word in my life and I face every difficulty with courage.”
He said, his greatest challenge was adapting to English after having come from the French speaking education system of La Colombiere and it is courage that has helped with the transition.
“My aim is to remind everyone especially the children to be courageous in whatever they do and the will excel.”
Manzi’s gorilla Shishikara is from the Pablo group which is the largest.
Just like Martin Luther King Jnr. Manzi says he has a dream - a Rwanda with no street children, no illiterate people and with the best economy in Africa.
He says that his wish is to be a pediatrician because he loves children.
“I plan later in life to start up a school or a place where children can get education, medical care or love and care like the one I have.”
Manzi’s success can be attributed to his mother – Connie Bwiza Sekamana, a Member of Parliament (RPF)
“Train a child in the right way and be sure even when he grows up, he will never depart from those ways.” Bwiza said with a smile across her face.
“He has always portrayed true leadership characters and his leading last years primary leaving examination did not come to me as a surprise.”
Bwiza says that it is being a strict mother that helped shape Manzi to be the person that he is today. “I have never been lenient or relaxed my parental rules.”
To Bwiza, her son also inherited part of his character from his father.
“Manzi, just like his father is a good communicator, he doesn’t hesitate to state what is in his mind. He is a very honest boy.” She said.
Bwiza says that she is shaping her son to be a Rwandan patriot and to fulfill God’s purpose for him on earth.
“The best gift children can give their parents as a way of saying thank you is working hard and achieving in life.” Manzi said while speaking at the gorilla naming ceremony.
“To all my friends, thank you for your support. To Dad and mum, you are the best.”