A good friend of mine who left Rwanda for a “better life” in Europe recently asked me, “Eric, why are you always criticizing? There are also great achievements in Rwanda.” I almost bounced him a “Kindly remind me why you left, again?” But I realized that was besides the point. Plus, he was right. I really do a lot of criticizing. Why?
Have a look at Igihe, New Times… You already have the picture of the paradise that is Rwanda. Speaking of this picture, I was thinking we should have regular “RWANDA FOR DUMMIES” tutorials breaking down the government priorities. For example, why an airbus is more important than producing potatoes since you can’t have more than 2 spoons in a restaurant now. (Criticism again, oops!) because after all, there are great minds behind this mindblowing progress. So why not share the vision, execution with the people in a language they understand. Please spare me the political jargons. Talk to me as if you’re talking to your grandma, yeah? Then I might be able to ask questions.
Everyone is talking about THE FUTURE but repeating in my ears “You are the future” doesn’t necessarily make me a part of it. It’s like when you say, be an entrepreneur and I decide to be an artist then you dismiss my choice because it doesn’t align with your idea of entrepreneurship. What if I dream of a more artistic future? And how can we focus on the future if we do not start now? Obviously the government is playing its part creating an infrastructure that will allow that future. My question is “Why doesn’t the government let me contribute how I see fit?” Do your part and let me do mine! For example, we have a ministry of sports and culture that operates from a football stadium obviously because it never thought a theatre was important. What’s the correlation between sports and culture? Oh sports is a culture? Sorry, we’re crating a culture of sports?” I’m lost. I got even more lost this morning when I woke up to some policies about regulating entertainment events in #Kigali because “Some of these [events] tarnish the image of our country by implying that people do not attend.” implying you said? but the picture of empty seats speaks for itself http://smart.inyarwanda.com/articles/show/EntertainmentNews/akajagari-k-itegurwa-ry-ibitaramo-kahagurukiwe-71301.html. If you really cared about the state of events, you would talk to the producers. It is sad that such crap would come from so-called artists. What kind of artists are you anyway? Who are you to tell us what to do, when to do it and how to do it?
When I think about how far we could be right now and realize how lower we get every day, the time we waste instead of working, it breaks my heart and drains me. I have poems to write, albums to record, a world to tour, shows to produce… Speaking of shows, you really believe that by adding beaurocracy to the multiple issues of the ‘industry’ (allow me to use the word for lack of options) is going to help the youth? Even my 5-old son would shake his head at this logic. The truth is you are creating these positions and responsibilities just so you can have a paycheck. And how dare you reduce our sweat to “akajagari”? Suddenly you feel more responsible for shows you never attend, artists you never pay, huh? Give me a break.
Why am I explaining myself? It’s very simple. Some think I use these mistakes to be famous, well it’s your right to think whatever you want. I just wanna say that I know for sure that I am one of the few artists who still got some energy left to fight and speak up. Many did the same before me, got tired (I just got started and I am already tired), gave up, left the country because every time they tried to create something, you found a way to make a mess out of it. The most recent FESPAD should serve as a lesson. Or not. It’s about reporting, right? It happened after all. El Oh El.
Anyway all I am saying is some policies are draining your youth, you can see it in the comments of the few vocal ones. They would love to be more involved but the implementation is too military. “Kitendo kwanza, complaint baadae.” The funny part is that you get surprised by such reactions but then again, “They’ll talk for a few days and move on” right? What you don’t realize is that you keep sucking the love of this land out of our souls little by little. And frustration heats up more and more. I write these notes simply because I fear the day we reach a boiling point. Too extreme? Well, read and listen to your youth without judgment and maybe you’ll get it.