On Masculinity

I grew up being told repetitively
The household is like a human body
The man is the head of the whole
The woman holds it together
Kids are the members
They both follow
The man’s lead coz “he’s the brain” after all

Apparently it takes balls to be a man
But I know mammals that got bigger than…
2 to 3 inches
Heavier than 3 pounds
Of fragile eggs that can barely handle the slightest pinches

This world domination got me to question my own masculinity
Coz I realize that mistreating girls for my own perception of reality
Has nothing to do with feminity

And maybe our need to blow our expansion out of proportions
Is to cover for our pettiness, weaknesses and misconceptions

But I tell you what:
If you wanna test how strong a man is
Leave him alone, if he doesn’t cease to exist
That man is a gem

#1key

Watch the performance for the Big Men project in this video

 

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1keynote on #YourMusicYourVoice

Before the Event

About a month ago, when I received an email from the Goethe Institute in Rwanda to participate in a workshop/concert project in Kampala, Uganda, scheduled from 1st-5th October under the theme #YourMusicYourVoice on which Megaloh & Ghanain Stallion, who were on an African tour, would perform, I thought “Who are these guys?” So I looked them up and damn they were hot! I don’t speak German but music has no language. It is the language of the universe. I felt the anger, the protest in their Hip Hop. That’s when I felt the hell-let’s-do-this vibe in my guts. So I emailed back Goethe with a yes. A few days before the event, when Goethe Zentrum Kampala asked me to send a short bio with details about how I use social media to address social injustices, I thought “Okay, it’s serious! Let’s do this!” When the poster was out and I was officially representing my country in such a noble cause, I thought “This is awesome!”

Day 1 – Intro

On the night of the 4th of October, I took the bus from Kigali to Kampala and was picked up from the station to the hotel the next morning. The hotel was nice. The best part was the location: less than two-minutes walk to Kisimenti, Goethe, and Kamwokya for Meddy’s chicken (and everything else one may need on this planet). Since some of the international artists/activists had already arrived, we got to share a drink at the barbecue on Goethe’s rooftop. There was even fireworks in the Kampala sky. Not exactly for us but since we were there, we took it as a personal welcome. It was beautiful energy all over.

Day 2 – Presentation

The morning began with a presentation of my work. I focused on my latest projects: The Expericment and La Voi(e)x de la légende because someone said “You are as good as your last work.” A couple of artists/activists, international and Ugandan got to share their journeys as well. The experiences were so enriching and brought to light our African realities into similar perspectives even though we live in different geographical and historical contexts. We easily related to each other’s struggles. Then came the Q&A. It was intense. In a good way. I still cannot get around some of the questions. For instance, how does one answer to;

  • What have you achieved in your country in terms of social justice for your people?
  • How do people react to your music in your country? What about the government?
  • As an artist/activist who criticize your government, are there instances where you have been in trouble because of something that you said? How did you get out of trouble?
  • Are there available legal bodies in your country to defend you in case you get arrested for protesting and voicing certain opinions? If yes, where does the funding come from?
  • How far will you go to defend your ideals?

It’s not like I had never thought about these questions. They are usually part of my work as a conscious artist. It’s just more challenging when you have to answer and sometimes you don’t have the answers. Unless you have the experience of Monza who said “In Mauritania, I have been arrested many times for speaking out against the injustice. The government is the judge. The people are the lawyers.” The irony of life did not miss the rendezvous. As we had these discussions, one of the artists could not freely participate because he was going through a series of intimidation, persecution, arrest and even attempt to murder. Why? Because he was/is using his voice to protest the motion to change the constitution that would allow Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni to become another Mugabe.

In the afternoon we visited a studio in Muyenga where NewzBeat is produced. As the word suggests, it’s the news delivered on a beat. Journalists are rappers and they just don’t rap the news, they research and create new ways of engaging with everyday realities. What was even more inspiring was the fact that Xuman, the creator of the new-on-the-beat format known in French as Journal Rappé in Senegal, was there to witness at first hand the ripple effects of his creation.

Left to right: Xuman (Senegal), Monza (Mauritania), Nash emcee (Tanzania), 1key (Rwanda) and Ntare Patience (Burundi). All are Hip-Hop except Patience, who is a reggae man.

A little bit later we visited the Youth Sharing Centre in Nsambya where Abrahamz gives free hip hop dance classes and cyphers regularly, especially to street kids. I felt blessed to be there and learned a couple of moves. So next time you wanna battle me on the dancefloor, there is gonna be some serious poppin’ n lockin’.

Day 3 – Arts And Activism

We kicked off the morning with fresh discussions related to how we do what we do where we come from and what are the receptions/perceptions in regards to our opinions. I felt blessed to be on the same platform with artists and social activists who make moves that influence change in their societies. It was great to be surrounded with people who have the same ideals as mine and who have been living up to them. Some of the topics that were unearthed surfaced were related to identity, home, the role of the artist in the society, North-South relations, colonization, decolonization, democracy, freedom, free speech, poverty, corruption, justice, equality etc. Check out some of the quotes on Twitter #ArtsnActivismUG

Outspoken talking about his struggle as a social activist in Zimbabwe. Right to Left: Patience (Burundi, Outspoken (Zimbabwe), the moderator, Nash emcee (Tanzania), 1key (Rwanda), Xuman (Senegal) and Monza (Mauritania)
Bobi Wine (Far left) courageously joined the panel a bit late after his house had been subject of grenade explosions. Later on that day, he was taken to jail.

After the talks, there was more talks. This time live on NTV with Douglass on his show The Beat where we got to share a bit of our arts and what to expect at the concert.

Left to right: Juma (Kenya) talking about how he uses music to for refugees plight. I’m paying attention just like Megaloh and Douglas, the host of The Beat.

Day 4 – #YourMusicYourVoice Concert

It was a pretty chilled-out day as we all needed to be fresh for the evening concert. By 1pm we were at Design Hub for sound check (and work on a paper costume for some of us, you know 😉 As for the rest of the show, it was legendary! You are definitely going to hear about #YourMusicYourVoice for a minute. On top of the concert, we did two songs and two videos featuring all the artists on the poster and more legends from Uganda. Meanwhile here’s how my performance looked like…

 

I had so much fun, I learned a lot, I met amazing people, I ate delicious food… I can’t ask for more. It’s been enriching in every sense and I am grateful to Katherina for thinking highly of me, to Anja for treating me with such respect and consideration, to Lara & Flora for making shit happen, to Anne Whitehead for the “positive vibes”… it was well organized. Thank you!

To my sisters Yallah MC, Lady Slyke, and my brothers Monza, Xuman, Outspoken, Juma, Nash Emcee, St Nelly Sade, Sylvester & Abrahamz, HE Bobi Wine, Megaloh & Ghanaian Stallion, Koz n Effekt , Sparrow and everyone that I did not mention, thank you so much for keeping up the spirit of Africa and for making me believe in us more. Let’s keep in touch!

~1key, 1love

Vis Large

When I tell people that I spent about five months in a village called Buhanda in the Southern Province of Rwanda, their first reaction is “No freakin way!! You? What were you doing there?” Usually I would say research but that happened organically as I started my quest to find my roots by interviewing old people about their lives before 1959 in Rwanda. The quest led me to paths across the country. I’m currently writing a book in French about that experience but in the meantime you can read summaries some of the interviews here transcribed in their original language (Kinyarwanda.) 

What made my life easy in the village was the fact that I was born and raised in a village, in exile (Goma, DRC). I guess the first twelve years of my life had prepared me enough for the poverty in Buhanda. It wasn’t as bad as back in my early days but poverty should not be compared; even though I was fleeing the same in Kigali because I was unable to provide for myself anymore after quitting a full-time job in pursuit of my passion for the arts, which doesn’t pay the bills since people and organisations insist on paying in an imaginary form of currency that doesn’t work in the real world called exposure. When I thought about settling in the village for a while, I knew rent would be cheap and that I could live better on a $100-monthly budget than a $700 one in Kigali. Plus the food would be fresh and cheap too. So I hoped on the bus and headed to Buhanda, where a friend was experimenting organic farming.

First day at the marketplace in Buhanda. I was excited. The people were like what’s going on here?

I love Buhanda. My house was one-minute from the bus park and the marketplace. Speaking of the market, shopping only happened on Wednesday and Friday. Friday was light in terms of crowd and activities. Why? Because almost everyone is adventist in Buhanda, which is very close to Gitwe- home of the adventist community in Rwanda. There was almost no activities on Friday afternoon. Saturday is sabbath. Nothing happens on that day in the Advetists world. Not even cooking. Sunday is a day off for catholics and protestants. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are normal days with no market activities. It bugged me in the beginning but with time I got used to shopping groceries only once a week. I was an outsider, anyway. It was obvious in the way people looked at me. I am familiar with strange looks. I’m ok with people whispering to each other behind my back about my hairstyle, piercings and tattoos. I have grown to be comfortable in this skin that makes people uncomfortable due to their personal insecurities. Oh the game of living! On the other hand, at the marketplace they called me boss since I was a regular buyer. Every time I paid for something with a Rwf 2,000, I realized their struggle in getting the change. Most transactions around me happened in coins. I heard people bargaining over 10-15 francs. Then I asked a woman who sold me fruits, “Don’t you think you would make more money if sold more often? I know you’re one of the few to sell here twice a week but maybe a little more would help you earn more.” Then she said, “Who would buy? I’m not even sure I will sell all these fruits today. And it’s a Wednesday!” I didn’t know how to respond to that. I had so many questions about what was happening around me. Why were street lights on all night over two kilometres for people who sleep at 7pm because they don’t have electricity in their homes? Why were there two ATM’s accepting VISA for people who struggled to get change for Rwf 2,000? How was I able to access the Internet when there was no access to clean water? The biggest question was Is it bad decisions that lead to poverty or poverty that leads to bad decisions? A wise friend answered “It’s the chicken and the egg. 

But then I remembered that I had once asked a group of old people who had lived their entire life in Isunzu, another village a few kilometres from Buhanda where my friend and housemate was farming, “What are you going to do about the water situation in the dry season? Didn’t you starve last year?” They didn’t even let me finish. They were terrorised by the idea of a scorching sun for two-three months but still had no plan. So I suggested that we dig dams to collect rain water. That was in March. It was raining. They pretended like they didn’t hear anything. My friend and I went on and dug a 7×5×1.5m dam. Our worry was that the soil would absorb the rain water once the dry season kicks in. So we thought we would try dry clay on the sides and see how it would work. Then a mirracle happened: While digging we realized we couldn’t get deeper than 1.5m as we were approaching the water source. That was a blessing in disguise because we collected both rain water and water from the source at the same time. Throughout this whole dry season, my friend had enough to water his crops. 

This photo was taken about a month after digging. The water levels were going up. The only cost was labour: Rwf 15,000

As days went on, I began to feel home in the village. So I decided to adjust- not adjust to a typical village lifestyle but to adjust the village to mine. I didn’t make money in the village. I spent, with so much joy, the little I would make through online translation jobs. Every time I had an idea about producing something for the house, I would step out and get it done with the villagers. I assisted them if I had to but in most cases they had it on lock. I met some unusual minds who were used to produce the usual. Here are few things that I got done by villagers in Buhanda:

I got tired of the lean-and-collect-water-with-your-hands routine while bathing. So I went to marketplace and bought the bucket (Rwf 1,500), the shower thingy (Rwf 3,000), 2×3m of plastic (Rwf 3,000), customized stool with space for soaps and other stuff (1plank: Rwf 2,000). Labour cost (plumbing, carpentry, sewing): Rwf 3,000. Grand total: Rwf 12,500. The hottest part is that since it’s sunny every day, water in the bucket is warm every day before it gets dark. PS: Remember to add Sur’Eau in the water to kill germs since it’s from the source.
I like to lean when I’m reading. So I thought what about a chair that does that without costing an arm and leg but had six legs? In my initial discussions with the fundi (maker), I suggested an ordinary wooden chair with two extra legs but we realised metal would last longer. Cost: Rwf 6,000. The guitar stand was a hard concept to explain so I had to draw it and instruct the fundi during the process. If you zoom in you will realize there is a mini book holder at the back. So I would play the guitar then switch to reading whenever. Cost: Rwf 3,000.
The bookshelf is pretty simple. I didn’t need anything fancy. I didn’t want my books on the floor so I got this made in a about an hour. Cost: Rwf 5,500. The mat, known as ikirago, is handmade. Cost: Rwf 2,000
This is my favorite invention. I had so much fun. Even the fundi couldn’t believe it! Everyone was proud. The structure that holds the jerry cans is made of water pipes. You can do as many levels as you want. A little soldering for stability will be required. Cost: Rwf 18,000.
The bed structure, which cost Rwf 11,000, lays on four pieces of chopped logs. Each log cost Rwf 500. There’s another log that works as bed table. Total Cost: Rwf 12,500. The lamp is made of water pipes and a plastic plate on top of the bulb. The red metallic structure is for the support especially if you need to move the lamp around the house or outside. You can also adjust the height by pushing the water piper deeper in the structure. Cost: Rwf 6,500.

A few things that I learned from this experience:

  • It doesn’t hurt to try new things. Au contraire, it enriches our experience and that of people around us;
  • If we can conceive it, there is no doubt we can make it happen;
  • We are not always poor but very often we make poor decisions; sometimes by mimicking rich people’s decisions;
  • It’s important to be aware of problems around us, the most important thing is not to simply complain about them but to try, yes try, to find solutions in our capacity;
  • We must review our priorities in this part of the world and be conscious of the fact that the cost of looking good is more expensive and far damaging than the cost of living good. 

That’s it for me. I’m going to let you go out there and live large! Make every experience worth your time in this life.

#1key 

Mpyisi

Kagarama, Kigali

20170802_101637.jpg
With Pastor Mpyisi Ezra
  • Muzehe rero nifuzaga ko mwanganiriza ku mateka y’u Rwanda mbere y’ubwigenge… ubwo nukuvuga ku buzima bwanyu mbere ya 1960. Icyo nifuza kumenya cyane ni ibijyanye n’ubwiru. Ese ubundi ubwiru bisobanura iki? Umwiru ni muntu ki?
  • Ubwiru ni ijambo ry’ikinyarwanda risobanura ibanga. Umwiru ni umuntu wabikaga amabanga y’ibwami. Ntawagiraga abiru uretse umwami we nyine.
  • Nigeze kumva ko abiru bakomokaga mu bwoko bw’abatsobe, ni byo?
  • Bakomokogaga mu Bakobwa uretse ko n’abandi bashoboraga kuba abiru.
  • Abakobwa?
  • Oya Abakobwa [soma Abâkoobwa]
  • Abakobwa se ntibabaga muri ya moko numva? Abasinga, abanyiginya…
  • Oya ni igisekuruza. Ntabwo ari ubwoko.
  • Bakomoka kuri nde?
  • Kwa Ndoli, kwa Ndoba.
  • Namenye ko wabaye umwiru, uri umukobwa rero?
  • Yego.
  • Ese umuntu yahindukaga umwiru ate? Ni ibivukanwa?
  • Oya! Uretse umwami ubivukana ibindi ni imirimo.
  • Wambwira ku mirimo yanyu nk’umwiru?
  • Naragiraga inka. Umwiru yari umuntu nk’abandi. Hari igihe yabaga yaragabiwe umusozi cyangwa inka n’umwami naho ubundi yashakisha imibereho ngo atunge umuryango we nk’abandi.
  • Hari amazina y’abandi biru wambwira?
  • Ndabibuka se? Hari umutware witwaga Kayumba wigeze kuba shefu mu Kabagari… Kayumba yari yarabwiwe na Rudahigwa ko Ndahindurwa ari we uzima. Igihe kigeze bati tubwire umwami. Avuga ko ari Kigeli.
  • Kayumba ka Rubibi? Aho ntiwasanga ari sogokuruza?
  • Oya. Ni undi. Yatwaraga i Bumbogo. Yari umutsobe.
  • Hari aho nasomye ku bijyanye n’intambara yo ku Rucunshu ko babanje kwica abiru.
  • Oya. Abega n’Abayiginya baricanye. Abiru bari ku ruhande rwa Rutarindwa barapfuye. Abayobotse Musinga ntibapfa.
  • Numva ngo wabaye adiministarteri i bwami? Ese ibiro byabagamo abakozi bangahe? Imirimo yawe yari iyihe?
  • Icyo gihe twari twaraganjwe mwana wa. Abakozi bari bake. Imirimo yari nk’uko usanga inzego zitandukanye ziriho ubu. Habaga umwami, hakaba abashefu, abasushefu bikagera ku rugo aho umugabo yari ashinzwe gushakira umuryango we imibereho yaronka bikamenywa n’umugore. Erega u Rwanda rwa kera rwari rukomeye mbere y’abazungu. Rwari rufite imiyoborere yarwo nk’uko muri Kongo, Ubugande n’ahandi hose bari bafite uburyo babayeho ukwabo. Abanyarwanda bagiraga umuco umwe, bakabandwa, bagaterekera…
  • Ese kubandwa no guterekera bitandukaniye he?
  • Kubandwa ni nko kubatizwa. Guterekera ni ya migenzo yo kwambaza abakurambere, gutanga ibitambo…
  • Numva ngo Musinga yarabyemeraga cyane.
  • Musinga bamucira i Kamembe nari nkiri muto
  • Wavutse ryari?
  • Mu 1922
  • Ukomoka he?
  • Hari i Nyanza, hafi yo kwa Rudahigwa ho gatoya.
  • i Mwima?
  • Eeeh mu Rukari aho.
  • Waje kwiga?
  • Ibyo se ko byaje nyuma…
  • Iyo umwiru yamenaga amabanga y’ibwami byangenda bite?
  • Yaricwaga! None se ko yabaga yaranyohe igihango arahira ko atazigera amena ibanga keretse umwami amuhaye uruhushya akanamubwira uwo azaribwira. Uwo akitwa umwiru w’ibwami.
  • Ese ubundi igihango ni iki?
  • Ni ibintu by’imiti bavugutaga umuntu akanywa akavuga ko namena ibanga kizamwica.
  • Nari nzi ko ari kwa kundi abantu bikebaga bakanywa amaraso…
  • Ibyo ni ukunywana.
  • Abantu bamenyaga ko kanaka ari umwiru se?
  • Yego.
  • Ubwo se nta bantu wenda bamushakishaga bashaka amabanga wenda…
  • Umva re! Cyane. Siyo mpamvu yanywaga igihango se!
  • Hari uwo cyishe se?
  • Ni nka kwa kundi abantu bizera Imana bakumva ko nibakora nabi bazajya i kuzimu.
  • Ko wabaye umugaragu wa Rudahigwa na Kigeli, ubona ari nde wari ufite ubwenge kurusha undi?
  • Bose bari babufite. Ntibari abami b’u Rwanda se?
  • Hari amabanga bagusigiye ngo uzatubwire se?
  • Nyakubwire ngo bazuke se? Barapfuye. Ngiryo ibanga! Umva Kigeli twarabanye mujyana muri Amerika muri 1992, tuba i Burayi turazenguruka ejo bundi njya gucyura umugogo. Ibyabo byajyanye nabo.
  • Nta bandi biru bariho se?
  • Simbizi. Ubwiru se barabuzi? Babanye n’umwami se?
  •  Hanyuma wambwira uko amadini yadutse mu Rwanda, nuko wahisemo kuba umudive aho kuba umugaturika?
  • Keretse uje ukamara icyumweru ni bwo wabyumva neza. Ngo mpitamo? Ntacyo twahisemo, twaraganjwe, turategekwa turayoboka umuco ucika utyo. Abazungu baje ku bwa Rwabugili. Baza bakuraho ibyacu bashyiraho ibyabo. Abanyarwanda bacaga umugani ngo “Mwimuke cyangwa umuyoboke!” naho ubundi arakwica. Ntitwari tuzi guhunga. Ubwo twarayobotse.
  • Ntabakomeje kubikora bwihishwa se?
  • Ntabo. None ko uwabikomezaga abazungu bamufungaga, bakamwica urumva ari nde wari kubikomeza?
  • Rudahigwa atanga u Rwanda akaruha Kristu, ngo abanyarwanda bakoze ibirori by’iminsi itatu. Numva ari nkaho bishimiye kuba akirisitu.
  • Umva! Twari twaraganjwe. Rudahigwa aha u Rwanda Kristu yabikoze abitegetswe n’abazungu. Ntacyo twahisemo. Duheruka ubwigenge abazungu bataraza. Bagira batya bashyiraho Kayibanda, abatutsi batangira kuvuga igikiga kandi mbere yaho abahutu bifuzaga kuvuga nk’abatutsi. Abantu batangira kwiga igifaransa, ubu ni icyongereza none byose byarivanze. Ugasanga uriya Rucagu… hari imipira mbona yanditseho ngo intore zatojwe… intore ntitozwa irigishwa. Hatozwa inka, inkoko, ingagi. Waje umbaza iby’u Rwanda rwa kera, byari ibihimbano! Kubandwa no guterekera byari ukwihimbira ariko icyo nshimira abakera nuko bavugashaga ukuri. Mu byo bakoraga byose bageraga aho bavuga bati “Ni ah’Imana.” Umuntu akarwara, bagakora ibyo bakora babona agiye gupfa bati “Ni ah’Imana.” Abanyarwanda bageze aho iy mana bayita abana babo. Ngo “Hatangimana, Harerimana…”
  • Nari nzi ko ari abahutu bayitaga abana babo gusa
  • Oya. Abanyarwanda baba abahutu, abatutsi, abatwa bitwaga ayo mazina nk’uko abazungu bita ababo za “Dieudonné.” Uzi ko n’abagiriki bazwi ho kuba abantu ba mbere batekerezaga… ni bo babyikaga bagatekereza bati ese ko izuba rirasira hino rikarengera hirya buri munsi amasaha adahinduka ni bite? Bageze aho bibaza ku mana, bashinga ahantu ho gusengera bati aha ni ah’Imana itazwi. Iyo mana abanyarwanda bavugaga batazi, iyo yari yarayobeye abagiriki narayimenye. Nta handi iri hatari muri Bibiriya.
  • Ariko Bibiriya yazanywe n’abo bazungu batuganje. Nibwira ko Rudahigwa aha u Rwanda Kristu Mwami hari amasezerano yashyizweho umukono na kiriziya abaha ubutaka butari buto mu gihugu dore ko batunze bwinshi muri Afurika. Nta uyobewe ko Vatican ari imbaraga za politike.
  • Umva wivanga administration n’Imana. Amasezerano y’iki? Abazungu barategekaga, tukayoboka. Icyo nkubwira ni uko n’abanyarwanda bari bazi ko hejuru y’umwami hari imbaraga zirenze. Bati “Nyakugirimana.” Bari bazi ko n’umwami abeshejweho n’iyo mana. Bamwe bati ni Mungu, abandi bayita Dieu, abanyamerika bati ni God, abagande bati ni Katonda.
  • Ese abanyarwanda ntibyababereye urujijo kuba icyo bumvaga ko ari Imana cyaje gifite indi sura?
  • Ndakubwira ko twarozwe. Twigishishwe nabi. Abazungu baraturoze natwe turarogana. Hari benshi nayobeje mu gihe cy’imywaka 60 mbabwira ibitari byo nibwira ko ari ukuri.
  • Ni iki wababwiraga?
  • Ko Imana yapfuye. Imana irapfa se? Yhuuuuu!! Ubu namenye ukuri abatega isi batazi. Ubu ndi hejuru ya ba Rudahigwa, Kigeli, Kagame, Trump… Ndi hafi y’Imana. Ubu ni ko kuri nigisha.
  • Ibyo ari byo byose imyizere ya kera yari igamije icyiza.
  • Uvuze ikintu cyiza. Yari igamije icyiza ariko harimo ikibi. Hari umukrisitu utifuza kudakora icyaha se? Hanyuma se? Ntibirangira yacumuye?
  • Ubu ntugikora icyaha?
  • Keretse iyo ngomye. Ariko namenye aho ugera kugira ngo ntukore icyaha.
  • Waje umbaza ibya kera, ariko banza umenye amateka y’isi n’ibindi byose uzabimenya. Imana yaremye adamu na Eva, satani irabashuka baracumura, babyara ibigoryi. Aho ni ho byapfiriye.
  • Satani ntiyaremwe n’Imana se?
  • Ibyo birakurenze. Ahubwo hari ukuntu yacengeye ijijisha abantu ubu bazi ko umuntu yaturutse ku mpunyu. Ariko uranyumvira abazungu di?
  • Nibwira ko niba ari uko nabo ari ho bakomoka. Uretse ko nzi ko abanyarwanda ba kera bizeraga ukundi. Hari ibyo numvise bita ibimanuka…
  • Ni ibihimbano! Ibyo bya Gihanga… byo ni ibihimbano. Ariko ibihimbano byabo nk’uko n’abandi bihimbiye ibyabo. Ukuri kuri muri Bibiliya gusa.
  • Ariko hari ibindi bitabo bitari…
  • Ni ibihimbano!! Ibindi byose ni imvange! Njye naravanguye.
  • Nganga… nakwigishije nawe genda usangize bagenzi ibyo wize.
  • Murakoze cyane.

The Expericment Film

I have been conflicted since the film was completed. My friend Isumbabyose, the brain behind this documentary, and I had many conversations regarding its release. Initially he made a 10min version hoping to raise interest about the full film and maybe generate some income from it but at the same time the purpose of the film is to educate about what it is to be an artist in a system that does not value arts. I’ve been working hard, pushing the envelope as much as I could but still it seems like we have many years to go. We need people who see the potential in the arts to make it an industry. Right now I feel it’s important that I share with the world today and the next about what I have learned as an independent artist and cultural entrepreneur in Rwanda. To be honest I am worried about the future of the arts in this country. The present is already a mess but I have hope that every blue moon generations will rise to the challenges.
This film is personal journey that I hope will shed light on issues that we do not talk about publicly as artists because we have a “reputation” to protect. So please let’s all learn together and figure out ways that may work for those kids who are talented but have no platform. If anything, tell them I tried and that I care about them.

Bajyaruguru 

Ku Kimana Cya Nyiranzage, Mu Gatagara ka Nyanza

– Muzehe ubanza ari wowe bandangiye ngo umbwire amateka y’iki giti.

– Iki giti ntigikinishwa? Ni icya kera! Navutse muri 1940 gihari. Naciye ubwenge kimaze gushibukamo bibiri. Habagamo inzoka z’incira n’urucyembagufa.

– Uruki?

– Urucyembagufa. Ni cya cyatsi cyera mu kabande kibaba. Ahubwo se ko habagamo iriba.

– Iriba ry’amazi? Wararyiboneye?

– Iriba nyariba. Ndakubeshyera iki?

– Hari igihe uba warabibwiwe.

– Reka da! Nari umusore mbireba. Ahubwo se uko iriba baje kurisiba si umusore wazanye torotoro arundamo ibitaka ariko amapine yikaraga byanze. Ntiyamaze kabiri arapfa. Ibyo narabyiboneye. Uyu muhanda nawubatseho ncungura data. Navukiye aha twicaye, niho nabyirukiye. Data yitwaga Rusagara niwe waragiraga inka za Rudahigwa zitwaga Urusizana. Mama yabohaga uduseke batakaga i bwami. 

– Uyu muhanda wahoze kuva na kera?

– Cyane! Wari uw’ibitaka hari imiyenzi ku ruhande n’ibindi biti. Waturukaga hirya kwa sous-chef Badege ugaca aha kwa Butera ugakomeza ukagera i Nyanza.

– Butera bwa Nturo?

– Yego yaratuye hepfo y’uriya muvumu. 

– Ariko ubundi umuvumu usobanura iki mu muco nyarwanda kuko n’ibigabiro bya Rwabugiri ni imivumu.

– Umuvumu rero ni ho abantu naheragaho batera imbarizo bajya kubaka. 

– Ariko umuvumu utinda kumera. Ufata imyaka ingahe? 

– Ntureba uriya wanjye uri kw’itongo? Buriya umaze imyaka irenga cumi n’itatu bari gushaka kukigura 13.000Frw nkabaka 18.000Frw. 

– Dusubire kuri kiriya Kimana…

– Buriya hari ahandi nkizi.

– Hehe?

– i Masaka mu Bugande. Siho u Rwanda rwacu rwageraga se?

– Yego. None ni ubuhe bwoko?

– Ni ikimana. 

– Ibyo ngira ngo byaje kubera imihango yahakorerwaga.

– Ni umuvumu.

– Cyatewe na nde? 

– Ngo ni Musinga wa Rwabugiri wagiteye.

– Kuki bacyise ikimana cya Nyiranzage se? Nyiranzage yari muntu ki? 

– Ngo yari umwami wa muri aka gace kera. Ntigikinishwa mwana wa! Niyo cyakuma ntawacaho ishami ngo ajye gucana. 

– Bigenda bite se?

– Nturora iriya nzu ko amashami asa nkaho agiye kuyigusha? Nyirayo yagize atya atemaho ariko ntiyamaze ukwezi. Imodoka yamugongeye i Kigali batoragura utugufa. Hari n’undi wakaseho agati k’urwara nubu ntabasha gushyira amagambo ku murongo. Byarivanze. 

– Ubu abaturage b’ino aha bose barabizi? 

– Ntureba nkubu ufashe umuhoro ugakubitaho? Ntiwagera i Kigali ndakurahiye. Niyo wahagera ntiwaramuka. N’abana barabizi ko kizira kugikinisha. Niyo waha umuturage w’ino angahe ntawakwemera kugikoraho.

– None se ko mbona nkaho kizagwa mu muhanda? 

– Bazakibisa. Nubu barigushaka uko bakatisha umuhanda hirya bakagihunga. 

– Ibyo uvuga ni ukuri? 

– None se hari ikindi giti ubona kiri mu muhanda nka kiriya? Ibindi se ko babitemye? Dore ziriya intuza…

Atunga agatoki kuri borne bashyize mu mfuruka y’inzu ye.

– Borne ndayibona. Kuki gitinyitse bigeze aha se?

– Ni ukubera imihango ihakorerwa yo guterekera, kabandwa, kwambaza Gihanga… nkiri umusore bigeze kumbwira ngo njye gushaka ityazo kugira ngo babage ihene, intama ngo batange ibitambo… 

– Nubu biracyakorwa?

– Cyane. Ejo bundi hari umugabo waje n’umugore we n’abana be babiri. Baparika imodoka, basasa ibirago baricara, banywa inzoga, bavuga ibyo bavuga… Hari ubwo bahasize inzoga haza kuza umuntu nyuma arayimywa ahita ahinamirana, ubwenge buragenda ata umutwe. 

– Numva bavuga ko ubwoko bw’abatsobe bwo nyine ari bwo bubikora. Ni byo?

– Yee abatsobe ni bo babaga abiru kuva na kera. 

– Abo bantu nabakura he se? 

– Sinakubeshya mwana wa. Nukwegera abakera bazi imihango ya Gihanga. Nta bantu bakuru bakiba inaha.

– Reka twifotoze rero Ikimana nkishyire hagati yacu.

– Yewe uranjyanye? Hahaha

– Byabaye hahahaha

– Urakoze muzehe. Ndakomeje.

– Ntugatsikire mwana wa. Kandi nuzajya uza uzajye ubaza uti Kwisanga ari he?

– Uri kwisanga koko. Urakoze. 

– Nawe. Ntacyo wambaza ngo nguhishe.

Mushabizi

Nyamiyaga i Nyanza, Amajyepfo

MushabiziMu buhanga bwe Mushabizi Mariya Yohana Viyane twaganiriye akirigita inanga nako ayiguyaguya dore ko itamuvuye ku bibero. Nuko atera yivuga ati…
– Ndi Mushabizi wa Sembeba ya Sagatwa ka …
– Wavutse ryari?
– Mu 1941.
– Numva bavuga ko inanga ari cyo gicurangisho gakondo cy’imirya ariko nzi ko iri no mu bindi bihugu. Wambwira ku mvo n’imvano yayo?
– Mu byukuri nabyirutse numva abakuru bavuga ko inanga yavuye i Burundi. Wenda nuko bari abaturanyi nabo batarama ibwami… sinzi neza uko yaje ariko yaje ituruka i Burundi. Nuko abanyarwanda barayiga byinjira mu muco w’abanyarwanda.
– Niyo mpamvu abarundi ari abahanga mu gucuranga inanga se?
– Cyane. Abarundi barakaze. Nabo bacurangisha imirya umunani.
– Nsobanurira ku miterere y’inanga. Igiti muhitamo, ubwoko bwacyo, imirya, mbese nk’umujene w’i Kigali utazi ibyo ari byo.
– Inanga ibaje mu giti cyitwa Umwungo. Ni igiti kiba mu mashyamba nka za Nyungwe.
– Kuki ari cyo giti bahisemo?
Arayikomanga.
– Nuko ari cyo gisohora ijwi cyane.
– Eh eh ukuntu ibaje se! Ni ubuhanga buhanitse. Babarisha iki kugira ngo binjire muri izi nguni?
– Imbazo za kera.
– Uzi kuyibaza se?
– Oya ariko nzi umugabo uzibaza i Butare.
– Iyi mirya se yo?
– Iyi mirya ubona ni iyo twagiye twihimbira mu ndondo z’umweru zikoreshwa ku nkweto.
– Ukoresha nka metero zingahe?
– Sinzi ariko hari igihe nkoresha ibidongi bibiri. Kera rero bakoreshaga ibyo bitaga ibyaziha. Ibyaziha byavaga ku nka ishaje. Bakabaga noneho za nyama zisa nk’iziri mu mugongo akaba ari zo bafatamo ibipande bibiri bagakata uduce duto hanyuma bakagenda bashyira hamwe bakaragira kw’ivi.
– Bigafatana bikavamo umurya muremure?
– Yee. Ubwo nyuma bakumisha ku muriro.
– Mu rwego rw’amajwi se ni uwuhe murya uvuga neza se hagati yayo moko abiri?
– Uwo wa kera ni wo unihira neza. Uravuga cyane!
– None kuki mutakiwukoresha?
– Ni he wabona inka ishaje? Ubu abantu ko babaga inyana! Kera ko abantu batungaga inka ikarinda isazira mu rugo bakabona kubaga. Uretse ko hari n’indi mpamvu. Reka nyikubwire. Impamvu ni uko iyo inanga yanyagirwaga, uwo murya waratumbaga ugaturika. Ukanika ukongera ugateranya ariko buriya umurya urimo ipfundo uba wataye ijwi. Na none watereka inanga ahantu imbeba zikaza zishaka ka kanyama zikarya wa murya.
– Mbwira ku bijyanye n’amanota y’iyi mirya.
– Iyi mirya, irimo ibyiciro bitatu. Hari imiyuki ibiri, hakaza igituza kigizwe n’imirya ibiri yo hagati, hagakurikiraho inyikirizo n’ibihumurizo. Inanga itanga amajwi umunani.
– Iyo mirya ibiri yindi se mbona?
– Uyu uhera ni uwo gukwega ushyira kw’inota ryaba iryo hejuru cyangwa iryo hasi. Uyu wundi wo ni ukwanga ko inanga yambara ubusa.
– Inanga ucuranga ni izo wihimbira ubwawe?
– Yeee.
– Ku buryo umuntu atumvamo inanga z’abandi zacuranzwe mbere?
– Reka reka! Mpimba izanjye.
– Iyo uheruka guhimba ni iyihe?
– Hari Zaninka, hari Mukase w’abana, hari… ese ko ari nyinshi?
– Mbese nk’ubu ushobora gucuranga amasaha angahe? Tuvuge nk’ubu utangiye saa moya z’ijoro wageza ryari?
– Nageza mu gitongo ncuranga kandi ntasubiramo inanga nacuranze mbere.
– Ubwo ni nk’indirimbo zingahe?
– Mirongo itandatu cyangwa mirongo inani.
– Mu rwego rwo kurushanwa abaguteraga ubwoba harimo ba nde?
– Jyewe bantera ubwoba? Ahubwo ni bo bantinyaga.
– Abo ni nka bande?
– Mbere hari ba Sebatunzi, ba Sentore… Sentore twarushanyijwe mu rukari ndamurusha. Hari ba Rwishyura, ba Kirusu Thomas… abo bose narabarushaga. Erega abenshi ntibacuranga inanga zirenze eshanu. Barazikwedura.
– None se ko utamamaye nkabo?
– Uretse ko ntagiye hanze y’igihugu ariko mu Rwanda baranzi.
– Izina ryawe narimenye ari uko mpuye na Munyakazi Deo.
– Nyamara ndazwi.
– Wasanga nzi ibihangano umuhanzi ntamuzi.
– Byashoboka. Radiyo Rwanda ko ibifite se ku bwinshi.
– Inanga itajya imva mu mutwe ni ya yindi itangira ikinamico igenda itya tara-taratata-tarata-taratata!
– Ni jye wayicuranze! Mu kinamico harimo inanga eshatu. Ebyiri ni izanjye.
– Curanga numve…
Ahita ayicuranga
– Iyooooooooo!!! Ni iyooooo!!! Muzehe ufite ibifaranga rero uragura!
– Ayahe se?
– None se imyaka yose bacuranze indirimbo zawe ntibakwishyuye?
– Shaa uretse uwampaye uduhumbi cumi na dutanu mu 1972, hari ikindi?
– Nta masezerano mwasinyanye?
– Ntayo. Leta y’icyo gihe yari yaradusezeranyije ko azaduhemba. Yari na menshi. Igenda itayaduhaye.
– Iy’ubu se?
– Iy’ubu itwumvisha ko kudushyira kuri radiyo ari ukutwamamaza. Baratubeshya-beshya. Rimwe narahagurutse ndababaza nti kuva muri mirongo irindwi na kabiri mwaba munyamamaza? Koko? Yewe hari n’igihe bampamagara ngo nze ntange indirimbo, nkazibaha ntibampe n’itike.
– Ese ubundi ni iki cyemeza ko ari izawe uretse kumenya kuzicuranga?
– Nazandikishije muri RDB.
– Eh! Ndakwemeye. Ryari?
– Hashize nk’imyaka itatu.
– Ujya mu bitaramo se nibura gucuranga?
– Yee
– Aho wacuranze hakomeye ni he?
– Muri Selina…
– Selina ni ibiki?
– Hariya i Kigali…
– Muri Serena?
– Yeee.
– Wavuga ko uyu mwuga wagutunze?
– Ni gake. Ntunzwe no guhinga. Ndahinga.
– Jya numva ngo wigisha gucuranga. Abo wigisha bo ntibakwishyura?
– Keretse nkiri i Kigali nibwo nishyuzaga ariko unsanze aha iwanjye ndamwigisha rwose nta kibazo. Hari ugira atya akampfumbatisha nk’uduhumbi cumi cyangwa makumyabiri gutyo.
– Umuntu yamenya inanga nko mu gihe kingana iki?
– Biterwa n’uko umuntu afata.
– Uwaguha ishuri se akaguha amasaha mu cyumweru yo kwigisha wabishobora?
– Yee. Maze kwigisha benshi erega.
– Nka ba nde?
– Hari Ayirwanda Godofiridi, uwo ni umusaza nigishije nkiri umwana. Hari Uzayisenga Sophia, Ngarukiye Danieyri, Munyakazi Deo, hari abasore babiri i Nyanza, abandi i Kigali… ni benshi bagera nko kuri makumyabiri.
– Iyo ubumvise bacuranga wumva umeze ute?
– Ndanezerwa cyane. Jya mbumva kuri radiyo mu biganiro bavuga bati “Twigishijwe na Mushabizi…” ni ishema.
– Muzehe reka nkubwire rero. Buriya kuva ndi umwana, ndi mu mahanga rwose, iyo numvaga inanga yawe, nahitaga nicara hafi ya radiyo nzi ko hagiyemo ikinamico. N’ubu iyo ngiye gukora indirimbo irimo inanga ingero ntanga ni izawe. Warakoze rwose. Ndaza kukubariza muri RDB aho bigeze byo guhemba abahanzi ku bihangano bahaye amaradiyo. Mperuka bavuga ko guhera iya 1 Nyakanga 2017 bizashyirwa mu bikorwa.
– Uzaba ukoze.
– Hakoze wowe.

– Hari ibyo twita Freestyle. Muri make ni nk’ukuntu umuhanzi yumva yizihiwe agakora mu nganzo. Tugerageze?

– Nta kibazo rwose