As the world prepares to make the International Women’s Day on March 8, Rwanda Today profiles some female artists who have made a mark in the entertainment industry.
For years, the industry has been dominated by men, but in recent past women artists have been giving men a run for their money, wining awards in various fields.
Dominique Alonga Uwase
The 27-year-old is known for her unending devotion to writing and publishing. A founder of Imagine We Rwanda, a renowned publishing house, the young entrepreneur has in recent years exceptionally stood out as a unique children books publisher.
Imagine We Rwanda has empowered several young writers and animators to fulfill their dream of publishing. From initially selling six books, to over 500 books, these are distributed not only country wide, but across the East African region. The house has published about seven books, which include The ABCs Of Rwanda, My Name If life, Mahoro, Isimbi and Oh Rwandan Child. It also recently launched Ysolde and her Magic Shoes, which is referred to “Rwanda’s first Fairytale.”
In addition to several recognitions earned, Uwase has emerged among the 2018 100 Most Influential Young Africans, a list of achievers from 26 African countries acknowledged by Africa Youth Awards.
Hitting the scene in 2010, the 34-year-old presents exceptional in her film making craft. For this, her films have been embraced locally and internationally through festivals.
Lyiza, her 2011 debut short film was premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. It was then awarded the Cinit Award at the Milano Festival 2012 before wining a Bronze Tanit in JCC 2012 in Tunisia. Behind the World won the Jury prize at 2014 Cine Sud Festival. A Place For Myself has been screened at several festivals including at Rwanda’s Masharika African Film Festival and the 2016 Newyork African Film Festival. It further won 18 awards, among them the Prestigious Thomas Sankara prizes in the 2017 FESPACO, the Ousmane Sembene Award and Golden Dhow at the 2016 Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), Tunisia’s Bronze Tanit in JCC 2016 and the Efere Ozako Award during the 2017 AMAA and 2019 Rencontres du Film Court Madagascar Awards.
Actress and poet Malaika Uwamahoro is undoubtedly one of Rwanda’s finest stage act. Rising from theatre, the Fordham University graduate has in recent years risen through performances at various stages, from initially under Rwanda’s Mashariki Performance and media company all the way to other national platforms like the Ubumuntu Arts Festival, Kwibuka (Commemoration) events among other Conferences and festivals.
Among several recognitions attained, Uwamahoro was recently nominated at US 2019 Audience Development Committee Awards. The actress has been nominated under the Solo Performance category for her role in Miracle in Rwanda, a unique play, which is lately taken to stage one of the incidents encountered by a survivor during the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis.
Inspired through New York Times best selling book Left to Tell, a 2006 autobiography, which narrates Immaculate Iribagiza’s horrific experience which saw her entire family butchered during the 1994 Genocide, the one-woman play sees Uwamahoro performing 15 characters on one set. Since its making, the play has been was premiered at Lion Theatre at Theatre Row in Manhattan, in April until May last year among other places, where it gathered admirable recognition.
Uwamahoro was recently invited to the 2020 Forbes Leading Women Summit, where alongside other inspirational women will be a guest speakers at the summit taking place in March, in Durban, South Africa.
The 26-year-old poet, songwriter, Afro Soul and Hip-hopact stands out for her flawless delivery. With several joint and single mixtapes and songs released, Mutoni also experiments R&B and pop since childhood.
She made it to platforms like Spoken word Rwanda in 2011, Kigali Up Music Festival, Beats and Poetry. Together with her colleagues, she founded Eclectic Nappy Heads, an all-girls initiative that empowers girls through music.
Emerging as a sole and versatile Saxophone player, the past two years have seen her take greater strides in this art. Tushabe’s skill at the sax has been embraced right from closed intimate spaces performances to high ranking events like Kigali conferences, the Kigali Jazz Junction, among other private events, making her Rwanda’s leading Saxophonist.
From breaking into the scene in 2018, Karasira has since then shaken up the scene. Through songs like Ntizagushuke, Twapfaga iki, Imitamenwa and Nsanga, her unique voice and poetic lyrics have presented Karasira as another promising talent which has not only seen her music dominating local Airwaves, paving the way her way for stage performances.