Uwase long journey to award-winning writer

Tuesday January 15 2019

alonga

Dominique Uwase Alonga, the founder of Imagin We Rwanda. PHOTO | ANDREW I. KAZIBWE 

ANDREW I KAZIBWE
By ANDREW I KAZIBWE
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To many, Dominique Alonga Uwase is known for her love for writing and publishing.

The founder of Imagine We Rwanda spends most of her time with children for reading sessions and public debate sessions.

Uwase was born 26 years ago to Antoinette Nyirahuku, a Rwandan mother and Christopher Alonga, a Congolese father.

For her effort, Uwase won several recognitions including the 2018 One Hundred Most Influential Young Africans, a list of achievers from 26 African countries acknowledged by Africa Youth Awards.

Launched in 2016, the annual prestigious list is an initiative that annually recognises young entertainers, politicians, entrepreneurs, activists, digital influencers, philanthropists and athletes across 10 distinct who promote positive image of Africa.

After her family’s return from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997, Uwase holds a faint image of her infancy, though she owes that all to her mother.

“Much as she had witnessed a lot from the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis, she did not transfer the trauma to us, which is a strength I applaud of her,” said Uwase.

She characterises early secondary life as a memorable, but intriguing one, mixed with commitment to reading and writing.

She recalls how she was forced to use Uwase than Alonga due to tension that existed between DRC and Rwanda.

“I then preferred using Uwase since I was drawn into belief of how it was not okay to use Alonga,” she recalls. Amid this, Uwase’s refuge was mostly through her devotion towards academics, a tool she used. “I don’t know how it happened, but I easily could do assignments for students in higher classes,” she states.

Her journey

But her way into writing was realised while in Senior three, when she wrote her first book. Aged 14, she had joined FAWE Girls’ Secondary school, where she recalls most students borrowed her book, and reading it in-turns, something which motivated her more. “When growing up, I didn’t have a lot of self esteem,” she expresses.

Uwase later joined Byimana Secondary school in Gitarama, then soon left for US’s Presentation Academy, Kentucky in 2007, where she underwent medical examination and treatment.

cultural diversity

“That’s where I learnt English, though didn’t make much there,” she explains. Uwase celebrates cultural diversity in India, saying it inspired her.

“I went to temples, did Yoga, I loved their culture,” she states. She graduated as public relations practitioner in India in 2014.

Among the recently launched books is Ysolde and Magic Shoes — a publication referred to Rwanda’s first Fairytale.

A believer in fairy tales and how children relate to them, she holds her experience since the release dearly, saying it has seen her meet and interact with more children and their parents.

“I do what I do because I have always had a chance and believe in destiny,” shesaid.

Having grown up reading imaginary fairy tales, Uwase believes how these pushed her into fantasising and creation.

In relation to today’s African publishers, Uwase is passionate about dignity and real representation. With mostly foreign media and publications reflective of how vulnerable Africa is, shesees otherwise.

Having read books about magical world, and fairy tales, she wonders why this is not common among most African writers.

“African children hold imagination too,” she noted. They don’t have to be depicted as vulnerable or less fortunate,” she added.

She has published seven book s— The ABCs Of Rwanda, My Name If life, Mahoro, Simbi and Oh Rwandan Child.

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