Charlotte Nzayisenga is a household name that needs no introduction. The volleyball star has won it all in domestic volleyball and ranks among the very best in women’s beach volleyball on the continent.
Along with her former teammate Denise Mutatsimpundu, Nzayisenga won the U-20 African Beach Volleyball Championship, in 2012, before clinching the senior African Championships twice in 2017, in Zimbabwe, and 2018 in Sierra Leone.
The duo also competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia, where they finished in a commendable seventh position.
In indoor volleyball, Nzayisenga has won the women’s national volleyball league title for the last seventh seasons – six times (since 2014) with Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) before inspiring her current club UTB to the 2018-19 championship.
With RRA, Nzayisenga also propelled the tax collectors to a fourth place at the 2016 Women's African Volleyball Clubs Championship, in Tunisia, the best performance by any Rwandan side in the continent’s premier club volleyball competition.
She was awarded as the best server of the tournament.
Because of her talent, Nzayisenga says, she did her secondary school and university on scholarships and never had to pay a penny or be a burden to her parents. She graduated from university last year.
“My talent paid for my studies, I was always offered scholarships so I could play for the schools. It makes me feel happy that I lifted that burden off my parents’ shoulders, I am confident even a master’s scholarship will come,” she told this publication in an exclusive interview on Friday.
Nzayisenga is arguably the best player, in women’s volleyball, that Rwanda has produced in the last decade, having won everything that was there to win on local scene and honourably representing the country in several continental and global competitions.
The celebrated volleyballer credits all her – individual and collective – achievements to the brave men and women who stopped the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to liberate the country.
“Looking back 26 years ago, it is hard to imagine what our liberators went through to set the country free, but one thing for certain is that volleyball would not be anywhere near where it is today without their sacrifices.”
Nzayisenga was a three-month toddler when the genocide erupted in April 1994.
As the nation marks the 26th Liberation Day, also known as #Kwibohora26, on July 4, Nzayisenga is reminded of the great feeling of representing her country and flying the national flag high on international stage.
“On a day like this, July 4, I am reminded of how beautiful it feels to represent and make Rwanda proud. Flying high our national flag is a responsibility that I never take lightly, we owe it to those who left everything behind – especially those who paid the ultimate price – to liberate this country we all proudly call home today.”
“Some of us were kids when the Genocide took place, and many were born after, but we learned from our parents and through other available sources about what happened and the extraordinary effort it took to stop it and the rebuilding process from scratch,” she noted.
“All we are achieving, particularly in volleyball, is down to the fact that Rwanda was liberated. We can celebrate now because we have a government that cares and is committed to giving its youths platforms to reach their full potential in different sectors – sports included!”
The Rwanda international challenges girls that, “In this ‘liberated’ Rwanda, there are plenty of opportunities for young girls and women in general, all that is required from us to be proactive and them the most out of them.”Follow https://twitter.com/@Eddie_250