Some of The 25 ‘Most’ Inspiring Rwandan Women

By Inspire Rwanda Team

Women the world over have made significant gains. Indeed, the most successful social movement in
Africa in recent decades have been the women’s movement, particularly in
policy and legislation. Malawi and Liberia have female heads of state,
and recently Senegal elected its first female prime minister, Aminata
Touré. Also, the African Union chair is female for the first time in its
history. Africa’s strong legacy of female leaders is a hugely positive
statement about the continent’s direction.
Rwanda’s parliament has continued the legacy of having a majority
women representation, something that is no easy task. This is same as
coming up with a list of LEADING RWANDAN WOMEN.

How can one measure
influence. In our first issue we attempted to make the fast ever
snapshot of the ‘50 Most Interesting Rwandans’ without a substantive
parameter. In this issue (published after March, the month of women), we
have gone further to make our first attempt at the ‘25 Rwandan Women
With Most Impact’. And since we have not used any scientific parameters,
we used unconventional tools and it was still no easy task.
One would expect that those to top our list would be politicians and
definitely CEOs. According to our research we hardly have Rwandan women
in top executive positions. The ones we stumbled across are a handful.
We also hardly have any feminist activists (that are widely known) and
we could only name one or two women we could refer to as
billionaires. We selected women that go beyond the traditional taxonomy
of power elites. Some of them change-agents who are actually shifting
our very idea of clout and authority and in the process transforming
Rwanda in fresh and exhilarating ways!
We try as much as possible not to divulge into politics but our list
also includes a top politician, Louise Musikiwabo who is here because of
her witty and intellectual political engagements. Our list also
features Kampeta Sayinzoga and this is mainly because she is very
instrumental in controlling the national coffers.  The list below is not
in any particular order.
Enjoy the read!

  1. Jeanette Kagame /Philanthropist Extraordinaire 
    being the First Lady of Rwanda, she is widely recognised for her
    activism in philanthropy through her work with the Imbuto Foundation
    that was established in 2007. Jeanette Kagame has since become devoted
    to uplifting the lives of the vulnerable population in Rwanda, particularly
    those of widows, orphans and impoverished families. In May 2001 she
    hosted the first ever African First Ladies’ Summit on Children and
    HIV/AIDS Prevention in Kigali, Rwanda. She co-founded the Organisation
    of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) in 2002, where she served
    as president for 2 years. During her mandate as President of OAFLA, she
    along with her fellow African First Ladies initiated a continental
    campaign known as “Treat Every Child as Your Own”. This campaign
    received the John Thompson “Legacy of a Dream” Award.
  2. Louise Musikiwabo /The Top Diplomat 
    Mushikiwabo is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, a role
    she also serves alongside being the Government Spokesperson. Her career
    and contribution as a woman leader has earned her trust as a true role
    model for thousands of Rwandans. Before her appointment to this
    position, she also served as the Minister of Information. Her prowess in
    communication could be attributed to her skills as an author and PR.
    She also speaks French and English fluently among others. Mushikiwabo
    holds Languages and Interpretation degrees from the University of
    Delaware, USA where she lived for 22 years. Before joining the Rwandan
    Cabinet in 2008, she co-authored the book—‘Rwanda Means the Universe: A Native’s Memoir of Blood and Bloodlines’.  In
    2010 Newsweek named her one of the worlds, “People that Matter’
    something that was attributed to her efforts to mend relations
    diplomatic relations with France.
  3. Carole Karemera /Hillywood’s Heroine 
    in 1975 in Brussels to Rwandan parents she is arguably Rwanda’s biggest
    female film export. After studying drama and contemporary dance at the
    University of Arts (Brussels) she joined the movie industry in 2002. She
    co-founded Ishyo Art Center with other seven talented women and also
    work with a continental organisation called Arterial Network, which aims
    to support African arts. In her own words she believes, “there is need
    for more art advocacy (in Rwanda) because it’s not well perceived. There
    are no art facilities and we are the only country with no national
    theatre in Africa. There are no arts schools in Rwanda and there is no
    national budget for art like there is for agriculture and other
  4. Josette Komezusenge /The Beauty Entrepreneur 
    and raised in Brussels, Belgium, her entrepreneurial spirit was stemmed
    from her passion to cultivate an Afro-centric business model. For 30
    years she lived with her parents and studied accounts in Brussels, while
    sharpening her skills in hair dressing, beauty and
    aesthetics—ingredients that later contributed to bloom of the Maza
    Saloon brand in Kigali. Starting with a minimal venture capital of only
    Rwf2million her business has blossomed to a workforce of 30 women in 5
    different branches across the city.
  5. Lucy Mbabazi /The Queen of Tweets
    (72,500 tweets as of 22nd April 2014)
    to the social media tracker ‘Social Bakers’ Lucy Mbabazi had tweeted
    more than 67,500 times by beginning of February 2014 since she started
    tweeting in July 2010. That makes her one of the most twitting Rwandans
    by any standards and on average twitting more 10 times a day. The Visa
    Rwanda recruit who also doubles as one of the few women board
    representatives of the government Internet vendor, the Broadband
    Corporations Services will tweet about almost anything from the weather,
    coffee, bad service, government policies etc etc. Mbabazi makes the
    140-character chirps seem like a one page Microsoft document. On her
    tweeter profile she describes herself as a wife, a daughter to society
    giants – The Founders of Gahaya Links and an ICT for development junkie.
    She is a Harvard Kennedy School alumni.
  6. Julian Ingabire/ Social Innovator
    was born and raised out of Rwanda but returned after the genocide to
    participate in the rebuilding of her country.  Together with Elizabeth
    Scharpf, the Chief Instigating Officer at Sustainable Health Enterprises
    (SHE), Julian Ingabire working as the Chief Operating Officer of the
    organization producing affordable maxi sanitary pads using banana fiber
    to make the core — typically the most expensive component.
    Through increasing education about menstruation and access to pads, they
    aim to give women who otherwise lack access to these a chance at
    increased productivity, opportunity and dignity. Because of their work,
    Schampf and Ingabire have been awarded the Grinnell College Young
    Innovator for Social Justice Prize.
  7. Stephanie Nyombayire/ The Youthful ‘Presidential’ Press Secretary 
    December 6, 1986 she is ‘probably’ the youngest Presidential Press
    Secretary, globally. Nyombayire is a representative for the Genocide
    Intervention Network, a graduate of Kent School in Kent, Connecticut in
    2004 and Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. She lost dozens
    of her family members in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, although she
    herself was not in the country at the time. In 2005, Stephanie traveled
    to Darfurian refugee camps in Chad after she was denied entry to Sudan.
    Her trip, along with fellow students from Georgetown and Boston
    University, was documented in the film “Translating Genocide,” which
    premiered on MTV on March 12, 2006. In 2007 she was named one Glamour
    magazine’s Top Ten College Women for her work on Darfur.
  8. Yasmin Sued AmriThe Brand Expert
    Sued Amri has served two leading brand agencies in Rwanda that included
    CreaXion (Ogilvy) and ‘Creative Eye’ a brand agency as the country
    Manager a period during which she managed the telecom, Tigo Rwanda
    account. At that time the Millicom Brand had just entered the Rwandan
    market. She went on to join Tigo Rwanda as the Marketing Services
    Manager. Prior to that she was the Brand and Communication Manager at
    Airtel Rwanda. She is the brain behind a couple of successful campaigns
    and her creativity stems from her belief that today’s competitive
    marketplace, every product, message and brand aiming for success needs
    designs that turns heads, a message to capture the imagination, combined
    with placement and delivery that hits the target audience between the
  9. Claudine De Lucco UwanyiligiraMedia and Broadcasting 
    deputy DG of Rwanda Broadcasting Agency is a naturalized US citizen and
    a Genocide survivor who graduated at the University of Maryland. From
    2003 to 2009, she was the Executive Producer and host of ‘Ivugurure’, a
    behaviour change television talk show that she initiated as a
    contribution to the reconstruction of post-genocide Rwanda.
    From 2005
    to 2008, Claudine served on the Board of Directors of the Rwanda
    Private Sector Federation as Vice-President of the Tourism Chamber,
    where she was responsible for advocacy for public and private sector
    collaboration for sustainable development. From time to time, Claudine
    shared communication strategies with different groups such as Rwandan
    women parliamentarians and university students. Before joining Rwanda
    Broadcasting Agency she was a US based International Consultant in
    Behaviour Change in Post Conflict areas an active peace advocate and a
    frequent guest speaker at various US schools.
  10. Odile Gakire Katese /The Playwright, Novelist
    is a trailblazing theatre artist, a playwright, director, actress,
    activist and poet. She grew up in Zaire, and only learned as a young
    adult that her family had fled Rwanda due to the unrest in the country.
    She returned to Rwanda and created theatrical work that is
    breathtakingly, insightful, moving and ultimately healing. She recently
    added to her accomplishments the inaugural Gilder/Coigney International
    Theatre Award, which was presented to her by the League of Professional
    Theatre Women in in Manhattan. Among her other accomplishments was the
    creation of the country’s first ever women’s drumming company called ‘Ingoma Nshya’.
  11. Kampeta Sayinzoga/ The Key to The Treasury
    in her mid-30s she is probably one of Africa’s youngest custodians to
    the national treasury. Currently the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry
    of Finance and Economic Planning and the Secretary to the Treasury. She
    is former the Chief Economist and Director of Macro Policy at the same
    Ministry and has also previously worked at the World Bank and as a
    policy maker, gathering experience from countries such as the UK,
    Belgium and South Africa.
  12. Laura ‘Somi’ KakomaSony’s Soul-Jazz Vocalist
    could be an American, Ugandan and also Rwandan. She was born in
    Champaign, Illinois at the time her father, the late Dr. Ibalaimu Kakoma
    was completing his post doctoral fellowship at the University of
    Illinois. Somi, aka Laura Kabasomi Kakoma, is an
    internationally-acclaimed jazz vocalist and song writer who was recently
    signed to Sony Music as the company re-launched its historic jazz
    imprint, Okeh Records, becoming East Africa’s first jazz and general
    artiste to join a major label roster. This follows Somi’s recent visit
    to Nigeria, where she had gone on a creative hiatus. Inspired by the
    high spirit of West Africans, Somi’s first record on the Sony label is
    aptly called ‘The Lagos Music Salon’ – a collection of profound songs
    inspired by her time in Nigeria.  Her music has got many music editors
    around the world talking, most notably Essence magazine, The Boston
    Globe, Vogue magazine, New York Daily News and Billboard magazine among
    others. “At the forefront of a new roster of African artists …
    effortlessly blends her global and sonic experiences,” said Essence
  13. Immaculée IlibagizaThe Prolific Author and Public Speaker 
    Immaculée Ilibagiza is popularly known as the author of the book; Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
    that was published in 2006. With over 250,000 copies sold, the book is
    an autobiographical work detailing how she survived the 1994 Genocide
    against the Tutsi, where most of her family was killed. This tragedy
    didn’t deter her from becoming one of the most inspirational Rwandan
    women to listen to. She is a motivational speaker who indulges audiences
    worldwide on topics centred on the freedom that comes from forgiveness
    and compassion.
  14. Angelique Kantengwa/ The Insurer 
    Rwanda’s top boss of the country’s pension firm, the Rwanda Social
    Security Board (RSSB). She was Director General of RSSB since June 2011
    but prior to that, she worked for the National Bank of Rwanda for 15
    years, during which she served as the Senior Director in charge of
    Financial Stability. She holds two Masters degrees and she is a Harvard
    Kennedy alumina.
  15. Knowless ButeraMusician ‘Brand’ Ambassador
    Rwandan musicians are yet to impress as much as their male counterparts
    have done. Undoubtedly Knowless Butera is living her times. In March
    2013 she launched her new album ‘Uwo Ndiwe’ to a fully packed Kigali
    Serena Hotel auditorium something not common with locals and later won
    the ‘Salax’ female artiste of the year and her new single ‘Ni Nkureka
    Ukagenda’ is currently vying for the one of the most played within the
    year. She dons a couple of MTN Rwanda billboards as a brand ambassador.
  16. Jesse Gakwandi/ The App Developer 
    Gakwandi is the proud developer of an Android app ‘Get It!’. This app
    offers tips and ideas on where to go and do things in Kigali. It mostly
    appeals to the young. Gakwandi as a KIST student, last year won the
    African Innovation Prize (AIP) for her technology and business
    innovation. She was among four public university students to scoop the
    Rwf1million cash prize.
  17. Yvonne Manzi MakoloMTN’s Marketing Honcho 
    is the puppeteer at Rwanda’s largest corporate body and undoubtedly the
    country’s top brand. She is the ‘powers’ you won’t see but will feel
    steering decisions behind the scenes. As the company’s first female
    Chief Marketing Officer Yvonne Makolo marshals the creative brains to
    ensure the MTN brand fits in locally. One can also argue that her
    thumbprint is all over the company’s most successful brand campaigns,
    ’Welcome To The New World.’
  18. Valentine RugwabizaBusiness Leadership 
    is currently the chief executive of Rwanda Development Board. Before
    this she served the World Trade Organization as Deputy Director-General.
    Prior to these postings she had served for three years as Ambassador of
    Rwanda to the United Nations in Geneva and Switzerland. Before joining
    the public service, Valentine Rugwabiza had a long career in the private
    sector, at national and international level, where she occupied several
    senior management positions, including in a Swiss multinational where
    she worked for eight years. She is a founding member of the Rwandan
    Women’s Caucus, the Association of Women Entrepreneurs, and the Rwandese
    Federation of the Private Sector.
  19. Lillian Mpende/ The Urban Planner
    at her tender age she is already handling the green collar position at
    City of Kigali as the Director of Urban Planning meaning she is
    in-charge of ensuring the City Master Plan is executed according to
    plan. Her importance is increasing as we begin to face issues of
    increased population growth, climate change and unsustainable
  20. Ines MpambaraThe Confidante 
    managed the president’s regional policy for quite some time and later
    rose to become the Chief of Staff at President’s Office and is currently
    the Director of Cabinet Office of the President. In 1998 (just in her
    early 20s, she was appointed the Director of the School of Journalism,
    National University of Butare. During her tenure as director of the
    School of Journalism and Communication, she took to transform the
    department she had inherited with barely any training equipment. The
    school was started in 1997 as the only training institute for
    journalists. She came up with a vigorous selection process for students
    joining the school – allowing in not more than 25 students. In her
    career movement she went in to head the autonomous Health Communications
    Center. Mpambara is quite approachable and easy to work with because of
    her open-minded, realistic character that cannot be easily abused. She
    is also quite stern as well something anyone can misinterpret as
    (Slightly Adapted from the Internet)
  21. Rose Mukankomeje/ The Environmentalist 
    referred to as the ‘forest-hero’ of Rwanda in April 2013, the United
    Nations Forum on Forests honored Dr Rose Mukankomeje – the Director
    General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority – with the
    prestigious Forest Heroes Award for her efforts to sustain, protect and
    manage forests and inspire positive change in Rwanda. She is known to be
    the mastermind behind the many policies and laws that called for better
    environmental management across Rwanda. She is a strong advocate of
    green growth and is very renown for having brilliantly succeeded to
    limit the use of plastic bags and protect or regulate the exploitation
    of the wetland and freshwater ecosystems in Rwanda.
  22. Nsanzabaganwa Monique/ Economic Governance 
    the Deputy Governor of National Bank of Rwanda, she is an economist
    with a Doctorate and MA from Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Served in the Cabinet as Minister of Trade and Industry (2008-2011 and
    Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning in the Ministry of
    Finance and Economic Planning (2003-2008).
  23. Cecil Kayirebwa/ The Music Legend 
    she has never won a Grammy, musically she might be to Rwanda what
    ‘Miriam Makeba’ is to South Africa. A music legend! And this because her
    music resonates and can easily identify with all Rwandan listeners from
    all walks of audiences. Born in Kigali, Rwanda her father came from a
    long line of artists, dancers, poets, storytellers, and singers. Between
    1959-1969 Cécile Kayirebwa attended Karubanda (Butare), where she spent
    six years of school. This is where she formed her first band “Circle of
    Song and Dance Rwandans.” It is this experience that takes her need to
    invent, adapt, compose songs and lyrics of songs, choreography and make
    unique costumes for his band animation school parties. From this period
    date her first compositions are still being played on Rwandan radio

Where are they now?

  1. Rosette Chantal Rugamba / The Tourism Expert 
    has been actively involved in travel and tourism for the past 18 years
    beginning with Euro Star, and then British Airways before returning to
    her native Rwanda to spearhead a revitalization of the tourism industry
    as Director General of Rwanda tourism (ORTPN) and later as Deputy CEO of
    RDB. One notable achievement was the role she played in the
    establishment of the Trans-boundary agreement with Uganda and Democratic
    Republic of Congo, which outlines the trans-boundary management of the
    Mountain Gorilla population, utilization of revenue earned and the
    establishment of the Greater Virunga Trans-boundary Secretariat. Rosette
    was recognized by the East African community in her role in the
    formulation of policies relating to promoting East Africa as a single
    destination and the single East African visa. Rosette Chantal Rugamba
    started her own tourism company of which she is the founder and Managing
    Director. The company is called Songa Africa. Basically ‘Songa Africa’
    is a premier specialist tour company that offers extraordinary tailor
    made itineraries in Rwanda and the rest of East Africa. She is also a
    Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations World
    tourism organization (UNWTO) on sustainable tourism in Africa. Currently
    she serves on the board of Akagera Management company and Population
    Services International (PSI).
  2. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira The UN Envoy 
    Kirabo Kacyira is formerly the Mayor of City of Kigali. Her leadership
    as Mayor of Kigali (2006-2011) made her the custodian of one of the
    world’s fastest-urbanizing cities. And this was well noted. In
    recognition of the capital’s high levels of cleanliness, greenness and
    safety, combined with sustainable, affordable housing initiatives and
    pro-poor urban employment opportunities under her leadership, Kigali won
    the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award in 2008. Prior to her tenure as
    Mayor, Ms. Kirabo was an elected Member of Parliament. She now serves
    the UN as Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for
    the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and this is
    one of Rwanda’s biggest exports to a foreign establishment. Her role
    includes the overall management of UN-Habitat, helping the agency to
    achieve its mandate.  She supports the UN-Habitat agenda to face urban
    challenges by strengthening policy to generate more equitable, wealthy
    and sustainable cities. She was educated at James Cook University,
    Australia, where she gained a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Science in
    Animal Production and Economics; and at Makerere University where she
    earned a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

Is there anyone you think we left out? Let us know!

Follow Us on Twitter: @RwandaINSPIRE


The Other 15 ‘Most’ Inspiring Women…

Clairyce Iribagiza

CEO of HeHe Ltd

Iribagiza is the founder and CEO of HeHe Ltd, a start-up software development
tech firm established in Rwanda in 2010. Her brilliance and persistent strides
to succeed are attributes that place her among the most inspirational young
women in Rwanda. Rocking her 20’s she has led her IT company to the global map
where she has showcased ventures and the hope that the Spirit of Rwanda

She has
been internationally and nationally recognized in a range of ICT and Business
awards for developing IT solutions that socially transform the lives of people
in her community. In January 2014, she was listed among the top 100 global
thinkers by the Italian think tank, Lo Spaziodella Politica (LSDP). She rated
32nd after the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on a list that
included global leaders who are politicians, businessmen and women, scientists,
academics, journalists and intellectual leaders.

Among her
achievements, Iribagiza was the proud winner of 50,000USD from Inspire Africa,
an East African entrepreneur reality TV show. Her company also partnered with
Girl Hub Rwanda’s Ni Nyampinga project and raised the voice of over 12,000
teenage girls through a mobile app they developed. Her education background is in Computer Engineering and Information
Technology acquired at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). 

Akaliza Keza Gara

MD Shaking Sun LTD

As an
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) company owner, AkalizaKezaGara’s
profile is one that perks interest for those who take the time to delve into
the happenings of Kigali.

As an
avid social media enthusiast, her Twitter mini-profile reads: ‘MD @ShakingSun | Member of @kLabRW,
@GirlsInICTRW, @KigaliShapers, #4Afrika Advisory Council | #Christian #RWOT
#Gunner #Blogger #OpenSource junkie’
this goes without saying that Akaliza is
a multi-disciplined young woman who spews of talent. Before moving to Rwanda in
2009, she had spent the first 22 years of her life abroad in nine different
countries and has traveled to all the world’s continents save for Australia.
This could be the reason why she has quite a broad perspective when it comes to
creativity and different points of view.

holds a degree in
Multimedia Technology & Design and
currently works as a Multimedia Consultant. Her specialities range from graphic
design, website development and animation work. As a young mentor, she has expanded and shared her skills to
benefit teenage girls as she encourages them to consider careers in the Sciences
and technology fields.

Esther Mbabazi

pilot, rwandair

Esther Mbabazi is widely celebrated as the first female pilot
in Rwanda, aposition she attained in 2013. While she currently charters
RwandAir CRJ-900 regional jets Africa, she previously trained at the Soroti
flight school in Uganda before she was sponsored to continue her training in
Florida, USA.

At the age of 24, she isone inspiring young woman with an
extremely bright future. She speaks five languages and she says flying planes
has always been her childhood dream—an inspiration derived from her late dad’s
career—who died in a plane crash while she was only eight years. Despite this,
she has always received continuous support from her mother who did not see this
male-dominated field as a hindrance to her daughter’s success.

Isabella Kamariza

Solid Africa

Isabella Kamaliza is the
brains behind Solid Africa—a non-profit that reaches out to vulnerable patients
in public hospitals. Her organisation is best known for feeding patients,
paying pending medical bills and acquiring medical insurance (mituelle de
santé) for those who cannot afford. Recently, Solid Africa initiated a new
children’s project at Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK)—play
therapy—where sick children are engaged in fun activities with toys in a
child-friendly environment, that distracts them from their pain and compliments
medical treatment through easing trauma and shock.
Kamariza was awarded by Imbuto Foundation for her initiative to
mobilise help for vulnerable patients in public hospitals.

Esther Kunda

OSCA Connect

Two years ago, co-founder and CEO of OSCA Connect Ltd,
Esther Kunda begun to work toward creating affordable mobile-based solutions
that are applicable on any mobile device. Together  with three other undergrad classmates at
KIST, they recognized the unexplored opportunities around and ventured into IT

She is one of the women founders of the famous Girls
in ICT, Rwanda chapter and has also been ranked among the top 25
entrepreneurial minds of East Africa. Currently, Kunda is pursuing her MSc.IT
at Carnegie Mellon University in the inaugural class.

Usher Komugisha


Usher Komugishga is a 26-year-old female sports journalist who currently works at Super Sport and was formerly the Communications Director at the Rwanda National Olympic Committee as well as
Sports Editor at The Rwanda Focus, a newspaper that is based in Rwanda.

She has covered the prestigious Olympics (London 2012), Paralympics (London
2012) and World University Games (Shenzhen 2011) among other sporting events.
She is a graduate of the AIPS-FISU Young Reporters program, a platform where
young reporters from across the world are selected by the International Sports
Press Association (AIPS) and mentored by leading sports journalists from across
the world.

Usher has experience in all media platforms including print, radio, television
and online journalism and has traveled the world over because of her career.

She has interviewed big sports personalities including FIFA president Joseph
Sepp Blatter, FIVB president Dr. Ary Graca Filho, NBA stars like Lebron James,
Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, tennis legends Serena Williams, Andy
Murray and Roger Federer among others, swimmers including Michael Phelps as
well as Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the Local Organizing Committee of the London Olympic Games (LOCOG) among others.

Sonia Rolland

and former Miss France

Sonia Rolland is an actress and former Miss France (2000) she has also
competed at Miss Universe. She is the first African-born Miss France pageant
winner, an accomplishment she attained at the age of 18years.Born in Kigali,
Rwanda to a Rwandan mother and a French father, before emigrating to France due
to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda at the age of 13 years. In
October 1999, Sonia Rolland won the “Miss Burgundy” beauty contest that
allowed her to compete for the Miss France 2000 title, which she won. At the
Miss Universe 2000 pageant, which took place in Cyprus, Rolland was a top 10
semi-finalist, placing 9th overall.

She has published a book which tells the story of her
life from Rwanda to the present day. With her mother, she started a foundation
for children in 2001. She has featured in films such as Désordres
(“disorders”),Salval’Ultimo a
film by
Pasquale Marrazzo in Italy and she makes frequent visits to
Rwanda where she most recently participated in the Rwanda Fashion week in
November 2013. She is also working on a new movie production that tells.

Hope Azeda

& founder of Mashirika Theatre Company

Hope Azeda is known for her theatrical role in Rwanda
performing Arts scene. She is the Director and founder of Mashirika Theatre
Company. Mashirika is a performing art and media company that aims at using
performing art and music drama to impact communities in Rwanda.

Amidst challenges of limited theatre facilities in
Rwanda, Mashirika under the leadership of Hope Azeda haven’t been deterred from
using their mesmerizing skills to change mindsets through entertainment. They
have been recognized both locally and internationally for their unique talent
and work in the entertainment industry. 

Gloria Kamanzi

GLO creations and Batik Artist

Women like Gloria
KamanziUwizera are taking their ideas and moving forward with business plans.
At 31 years, she is an artist and business woman who owns Glo Creations—a
company that specialises in making batik and textile designing.

Born in Belgium to Rwandan
parents, she grew up in Belgium, Rwanda, Kenya, DR Congo then Rwanda again,
where the genocide affected her family in 1994.She ventured into ventured
into learning the textile art business while living and studying
marketing, international commerce and accounting in Senegal. 

When she returned
to Rwanda she established ‘GLO Creations’ in 2008 as a mantle for expanding her
entrepreneurial skills. She started small with one employee but has since
expanded and employs six people herself inclusive. Kamanzi
is an alumna of a U.S. embassy exchange program to the United States. She hopes
to export her products globally seeing as she already has a few clients in
Japan and the US.

Jean d’Arc Giruwubuntu


She is an 18-year-old female cyclist who hails from Rwamagana in Rwanda’s
Eastern Province. She was one of two female cyclists to represent Rwanda at the
Africa Cycling Continental Championships in December 2013 coming eighth
overall. She was a sight to watch during last year’s Tour Of Rwanda as one of
the most daring cycling women to take the road amidst a mass of male cyclists.

Flora Kaitesi

NEWS Anchor, RTV

Kaitesi is popularly known for her elegance and articulate aura on the RTV
airwaves. She reads the English evening news on the nation’s broadcaster,
Rwanda Television. Considering the low number of women journalists in Rwanda
and women involved in mainstream media, she is one of those who represent the
new generation of young women professionals in Rwanda. 

Kaitesi’s inspiring
role has mostly evolved around Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA—formerly
Orinfor) where she has worked for the past five or so years in the English
Department. More so, with her media experience, she has covered numerous
national and international conferences around the world including the UN
General Assembly (UNGA) and Rwanda Day events among others.

Joselyne Umutoniwase


JoselyneUmutoniwaseis a young fashion designer and the
proprietor of RWANDA CLOTHING. At the 26 years, she has created a fashion label
that is positioning itself on the international market. Inspired by the likes
Michael Kors, Isabelle Marant and Donna Karan, Joselyn is set
to transform style by combining western and African styles. Her clothing style
depicts an imprint of ‘Rwandaness’—something women and men in Rwanda can
identify with.

By blending African and western fashion designs and fabrics,
she appeals to a wider market of modern and traditional fashion enthusiasts
living in Rwanda.

Joselyn launched her fashion
house in February 2012 and has participated in several fashion shows in Rwanda
and one in Germany.

Popoune Kamikazi

She is a filmmaker who has won so many awards including the Signes awards in
Zanzibar in 2013, best short film in 2012 in Rwanda, best director 2013 in
France. She also got a special mention during the 2012 annual Rwanda Film

Gigh Francoise Indamutsa


Gigh Francoise Indamutsais a promising Belgium-based Rwandan
model who has strived to set her mark on the European Country’s cat-walk scene.
In 2011, while pursuing her studies in England, her modelling career was
birthed. She later moved to achieve her college education in Belgium and with
that came greater exposure to the fashion world. Indamutsa would later come in
touch with several contacts who introduced to famous designers who would
further propel her modelling career.

The budding model has since represented Rwanda and achieved different
competitive titles such as; Miss Supranational Rwanda 2012 and in 2013 she took
second place at ‘Best Model for Belgium’ and top place at the ‘Best Charm Model
of the World’. Her charming presence in the media is not absent; she has been
featured in popular magazines like Paris Match and L’Eventail, and broadcast on
the Belgian National TV.



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