Author Archive

For a graduate who had not contemplated any other job in whichever office, I had been quite seduced by life as a journalist, it was quite interesting and  mind opening, I mean you would get at the bottom of every national and sector policy and people behind it. You could grasp the life of a country in a single blink.

Having studied languages in High school I had no choice at Campus, I took Literature, Education and English, a course I covered for almost half a decade.

So my carrier in journalism started as an accident. Before graduation, I sought a placement at one of the local Radios, where I was hired to run a weekly cultural show locally known as ‘Igitaramo Nyarwanda’ in late hours of Sundays.

Sometime, I was forced to sleep-over in the studio till morning where I would ride in a Pastor’s car to go back home the next day;  the pastor together with his wife used to have early Morning Prayer shows on that Radio.

Three months later, I saw no need to stay, if I was to become a writer that was not an incubation place to be, plus I looked with contempt (bad of me) the life on the radio, people were so obsessed to be on Air and to receive in-callers who would chant and praise their shows.

Few days to graduation I had started to string for Rwanda Focus, an editor who, I met at his office, decided to give me chance and see how far I could take my writing fantasy; I remember the first story which run like a week later.

The story was about gender issues, where an NGO was launching a full year strategic plan and the event was attended by some government officials; although that was usual, what was unusual is the time I took to get content and facts for my story.

The memory is a bit fuzzy, but I interviewed the NGO director for like 10 minutes, I asked a lot of questions to make sure I didn’t forget anything, like the editor who has commissioned a story had warned me before I set to the field.

Well the newspaper was an English one, for a moment I felt the pleasure to be working in an office where I could write stories in English, mind you I had not done anything of media whatsoever, neither did I have an Anglophone background, my first story was a disaster, a serious one.

My editor, a disgruntled Belgian, turned the story into a readable material, then in his 40s, he had been in Rwanda for some time and his plan to return to Belgium was next to impossible, he had been working in public offices but left unhappy; At the company he had found a safe haven, ease work and ease pay.

We all had no pay check, but we were entitled to daily stipends and weekly published story payments, surprisingly it was not little for a guy like me whose responsibility was next to zero, I was still at my father’s and all I could do sometime was to drink it all (my bad again).

I was later to pursue my master’s degree somewhere in  Kenya, so I didn’t spend much time there, but by the time I left for my postgraduate studies I had earned quite enough experience in the career and my English had significantly improved for someone who was going to do literature in a country like Kenya.

In my holidays I would return to work and earn some little money before I return to Nairobi and until I completed and returned in my home country Rwanda.

With time I had to look at a specific news desk, whence I could master and claim control over because my boss had sought to put me on the payroll and keep my usual stipends, daily and weeklies.

For a graduate who had not contemplated any other job in whichever office, I had been quite seduced by life as a journalist, it was quite interesting and sometime mind opening, I mean you would get at the bottom of every policy and people behind it. You could grasp the life of a country in a single line.

Eventually I was assigned to cover parliament and Education, parliament was a bit new, I had to learn from A to Z mostly on the procedures although in education I would claim some authority having a degree in English, literature and education.

‘A vrai dire’ I was a teacher by profession, a journalist by accident and an artist by miracle, yes because, I was still doing folklore performances, my friends and I had a cultural troop and on a weekly basis we had weddings to entertain.

Few months later, when I had turned from Nairobi, I was fired from Rwanda Focus, a move that I really welcomed, because it looked like I was stitched to that place and I saw no growth in the company, whose management was less visionary, it was more of a home company than a corporate.

On the eve of the Easter, after a long tiring day with Mum, from a commemoration, I drove her to church; the services were slated late in the night.We left many at home going to sleep, my father couldn’t even believe we were going to church, anyway we went to Centre Christus, where many had gathered in style to observe and celebrate Easter.

As we were all squeezing to the entrance after a short moment of tribute to the Vierge Marie, a statute that ushers believers inside the church, Mum was calling…., Rodrigue….Rodrigue, I turned around to find out the matter.

She was there standing amongst many with a big lit candle, I reached up to her and she handed me the candle-light. “I couldn’t find the cheapest,” she said. I grabbed the candle and proceeded to another entrance. I wanted to ask what about her, but in hurry she disappeared in clouds trying to get a sit in front rows of the church benches.

For those who do not know much about Catholic Church rituals, on the eve of Easter, devotees carry out candle and lit them as a symbol of new life, Jesus did the same when, after resuscitation, he appeared in splendid light to Marry (ies) who had come to the tomb looking for him. Well he was not there and the tomb was empty, he had risen among the ‘deads.’ Resurrection is equated to light emerging from deep darkness.

A friend of mine recently questioned why westerners celebrate Easter with Eggs and Bunnies; to my surprise I came to learn that eggs just like bunnies are closest symbols to a bound-life and or a new life, to put it in plain a resurrection.

I sat in the bank benches adjacent to the exit of the church, with my candle well-lit still, I was so overjoyed to hold one of the biggest candle while many in the church held small ones but lit as well.

As a son I was happy to have been given such a light from Mum, I was not alone though, there was a nun sitting just in front of me and we would share fun of lighting faded candles, some could not sustain the lit-any longer out of the wind blowing from corners of the church.

Despite fatigue, church sermons were superb, there were quite a series of rituals to observe and the priest was very outspoken and humorous, as a matter of facts, he decided to lead Eucharistic celebration randomly without telling believers how it would entirely proceed.

With a mixture of jokes the priest signed-off the services inviting everybody to be the light of the world and to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

From the seven scripts in the old testament which were loudly read and two more other evangiles of Jean and Paul, the priest drew a line of what resurrection meant, and my take then was more connected to the journey of Israelites from the servitudes in Egypt.

Previously I happen to have been reading the book of exodus, a very telling book in the Bible, and when the priest preached on the journey to communicate transition from slavery into freedom in the Canaan country, I couldn’t ask for more spiritual food then.

The compassion felt on the Easter Monday, before sleep were even more enthusiastic and I felt heavily God’s presence than any other day in my life, shortly after like two gracious hours in the presence of God, I stretched myself, eyes fixing the ceiling and an tankful of ideas emerged  and loaded in my mind.

It definitely has not been like any other Easter but I feel to have let this one sunk deep in my conscious and the joy that I felt that day gave birth to freedom and incomparable happiness.