Profile: There is media freedom in Rwanda - Shyaka Kanuma

With a booming career of fourteen years experience in the Journalism profession, Shyaka Kanuma is at the top of his game. The outspoken 41-year - old Kanuma was born in Jinja, Uganda with him being the first-born amongst three boys.He attended Njeru Primary School before joining Jinja Senior Secondary School.
Shyaka Kanuma
Shyaka Kanuma

With a booming career of fourteen years experience in the Journalism profession, Shyaka Kanuma is at the top of his game.

The outspoken 41-year - old Kanuma was born in Jinja, Uganda with him being the first-born amongst three boys.

He attended Njeru Primary School before joining Jinja Senior Secondary School. 

“I didn’t get the opportunity to attend University in Uganda but I took some journalism courses. In 2002, I went to Harvard University under NIEMAN fellowship which is a journalism scholarship,” Kanuma narrates.

He later attained a Masters in International Journalism at the City University of London.“Actually I began my journalistic work as reporter in 1997 with The New times long before offering any of the above courses.

I have been a reporter, Columnist and a correspondent with several media houses such as The East African, The Mail and Guardian Newspaper in South Africa,” Kanuma discloses.

He said: “We began the Rwanda Newsline with other two journalists in late 1999 and the Umuseso (Kinyarwanda newspaper) before some other people came in to mess it up. It was messed after I had travelled for further studies.”

While working with the Rwandan Newsline, in 2001 he won the Free Press-Africa Award.“In January 2006, I started the Rwanda Focus Newspaper, it’s a weekly paper,” he adds.
 
Regarding his view on the relationship amongst employs in a work place, he said: “It varies although it depends on the leadership of the work place.

Avoid office politics as much as you can, because it takes a lot of time and energy that would be used in more productive activities. Respect is important but above all working as a team earns you bigger things.”

He further says that, romantic relations between the boss and his employers are unacceptable. But such relations amongst colleagues are justifiable as long as it doesn’t conflict with their work.

Besides being the proprietor of Rwanda Focus newspaper, Kanuma is the Chief Editor and the paper aspires to be an institution that holds leadership to accountability.

“Some people may take us to be enemies and that’s good because maybe they are hiding something. They could not want to be exposed.

Our mission is to see that we are a relevant new organization that plays its part in society to hold leadership accountable through investigative reporting,” he says, adding that there is press freedom in the country.

“We have media freedom in Rwanda and one can just see it in what I write.”

Like any other business, he has faced several challenges such as, resources to publish the paper, recruiting skilled personnel. And the achievements are many as well.

Although he ended up in journalism, it was not his childhood dream.

“As a child I wanted to be a famous soccer star like Diego Maradona (he laughs) but as one grows, the dreams become unrealistic.

I never dreamt of being a lawyer or doctor like most children besides wanting to be a star.

But I enjoy what I do and I’m very glad that I became a journalist,” Kanuma discloses.In secondary school, he tried the boxing.
 
“It was something that I did for physical fitness and discipline for the mind.

After sometime I saw that it was so brutal a sport, it’s not good to be hit on your head repeatedly,” he recalls
Shyaka is married to Helen Mwihoreze and they are blessed with a son they named Obama Kanuma and a daughter who is a week old.

“Being a father is interesting, I enjoy kicking a ball with my son, its amazing seeing him run with his babyish steps to go and get the ball.

One the first things I do in the morning is to play with my son,” he said.“It gives him a great feeling that the day has got off on a good start.”

His Favorites
Activity: - Reading 
Dish: -  Chicken and Pilau
Sport: -  Soccer
Soccer team: -  Chelsea
Movie: - The Shawshark redemptions
Actor: - Morgan Freeman
Music: - Rhymes and Blues

Ends 

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