Jean Pierre Kagabo is the Chairman of St. Mitchel Church in Central Kigali. He is also an Electrical Engineer at Rwanda National Social Security Fund (CSR).
He was born on June 22nd, 1976, to his parents Jean Nepomuscene Kagabo and Adele Mukakuranga (now deceased). Kagabo was their seventh child. His parents and four of his siblings died during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He was among the eight children who survived the killings.
“We got to know that we were going to be killed on May 8th 1994 through a Hutu neighbour. He helped me and my young brother to escape and took us to our aunt’s home,” Kagabo said.
He gravely added that they where residents of Nyamirambo and that their Hutu neighbour came and informed them that their eldest brother had been killed.
“Our neighbour found us at my aunt’s house and told me that the killers were looking for us therefore even my aunt’s home was not safe anymore. Since my aunt lived near Gisimba Orphanage in Nyamirambo, we went to the orphanage,” Kagabo said.
At Gisimba Memorial Orphanage, they were protected by the owner Mr. Damas Gisimba. However the place was not purely safe and so he moved all the orphans to St. Mitchel Church on June 29th 1994.
“On July 4th, 1994 we were rescued by the liberators (Rwanda Patriotic Front). It was just me my young brother and a cousin at that time, they were the only family members I was with,” Kagabo explained.
Before the Genocide, Kagabo had attended Kivugiza Primary School in Nyamirambo the later went to Lycee De Kigali for his O ’Level education.
“I was in form three when the Genocide happened, after the unbearable circumstances that came with the dark days; I had to resume School at Lycee De Kigali. I later joined Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) to purse a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering,” he explained.
Kagabo was among the pioneers of Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. After graduating he worked with Kigali City Council before joining the National Social Security Fund as an Electrical Engineer.
As a child, his dream was to become a Medical Doctor but that changed with time.
“I always wanted to do medicine but when I got the chance to join KIST, since it was a new University, I definitely changed my mind about becoming a doctor. I enjoy my profession and I have never regretted not becoming a doctor,” he added.
Kagabo is following his father’s footsteps by being one of the choir members of his church at St. Mitchel.
“My dad was a Choir conductor at his church in Nyamirabo Parish. This made me join the church choir in 1998 while at KIST.
When the English Service was launched on October 25th 1998, KIST students were given priority while starting the choir and I joined two weeks later,” Kagabo disclosed.
He was made the Choir‘s Chairman last year in February. He is the spokesman of the choir and organizer.
“We have 77 official members but other people are also allowed to join if they are interested. We train every Friday at 5:30 p.m, Saturday 4:00 p.m and on Sunday at 8:00 a.m before the service,” Kagabo explained.
He said training an hour before the morning service, sharpens the voice.
“When new members join the choir, they are trained for a month and later the voice representatives take care of them so as to perfect their voices. We have four voices in our choir and they include; Soprano which is high- pitched, Tenor, Alto and Bass which is deep-toned,” Kagabo explained Regarding the Easter programme, the choir will be singing Easter Carols during every Mass.
“We will start singing the Easter Carols on Holy Saturday during the Vigil Mass. On Sunday we will sing Easter Carols all day,” Kagabo said.
Besides being the Chairman of the Church Choir, Kagabo is a proud husband.
Alex Hodari a friend of Kagabo said he appreciates his leadership skills.
“He is a genuine friend who always keeps his word,” Hodari said.
Victor Rugambaje a member of the Choir and friend of Kagabo said that besides being social, Kagabo is always willing to help everyone.
“Kagabo is organized and that is why he is a member of most of the church groups,” said Rugambage.