Dr Richard Sezibera, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister has encouraged Rwandan artists to keep up the fight towards developing the country’s music and art industry despite the so called ‘experts’ thinking doom of Rwanda.
On Friday, Sezibera, said on his twitter that this hope to win critics can be proven by recent global acknowledgement of two Rwandan artists, almost two decades after encountering persons who think Rwandans cannot shine in music and arts.
“1997, an ‘expert’ on Rwanda tells me Rwandans too serious to succeed in music and artistic industry. 2018, I just read an exquisite piece by Scholastique Mukasonga in the NewYorker and Buravan won an International prize. Advice, never bet against Rwanda and her people!” Sezibera said.
Sezibera comments comes after upcoming Rwanda RnB singer- Yvan Buravan won the 2018 Prix Decouverte Radio France Internationale (RFI) competition walking away with €10,000 (over Rwf10million) and sponsorship to perform concerts in France.
This award is meant for Africa artists and Buravan joins a table of over 37 artists who have retained the annual award, including big music names like: Tiken Jah Fakoly (reggae legend), Malian visual impaired duo Amadou and Mariam, Canjo Amissi, Maurice Kirya- jazz maestro from Uganda and Rokia Traoré, Didier Awadi among others.
Former Member of Parliament, Jean Thierry Karemera also believes that “Rwanda has chosen a path of success but some people criticize the local music saying that it is still farfetched especially with lack of originality.”
Some say that the local music and artistic industry in Rwanda is lagging way behind and has reached a point where it’s being driven by plagiarism.
While some Rwandans believe there is still a long way to go and gaps in music development due to lack of sponsorship, some local artists like Charly and Nina have made a break through from backstage singer to regional and Africa divas.
Several Rwandans have also put the country on the global map, wining several awards in various fields of arts and music.
Mukasonga’s Our Lady of the Nile was awarded the prestigious French Voices Award for 2014.
In 2012, Rwanda artist Laura Nsengiyumva won the Contemporary African Art prize of the 10th biennale of Dak’Art held in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
In October 2015, USA based Rwandan R’n’B singer, Benjamin Mugisha “The Ben” won an honorary award “Tamin Award of Honor” at inaugural Africa Entertainment Awards USA which took place in New Jersey.
In January, 2018, Rwandan Jazz female maestro and Petite Afrique album singer/songwriter ‘Somi Laura Kabasomi Kakoma Somi, won Outstanding Jazz Album at the 49th NAACP Image Awards, which took place on January 15 in Pasadena, California.
In September 2018, the Aspen Institute and Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation announced Rwandan artist and curator, Hope Azeda, among four winners of the 11th annual John P. McNulty for her invaluable work through the Ubumuntu Arts Festival.