interviewBy Natasha Muhoza
The value of the arts in Rwanda, is an essential part of developing our nation. Without it we're something less as a country. I am amazed by how strongly the first world countries have prospered based on the devotion to creativity, to free thinking and pursuit of dreams as though they were reality. And this is emphasised right from childhood. I strongly believe it is by this that this has been an amazingly crucial component of innovation and ultimate development in these countries and is definitely a valid option for us. Isn't it?
Recently I got in touch with a now good friend from high school, Didier Ganza, commonly known on social networks by his inspirational name 'GanzaAimhigher', which I must tell you, is exactly the description of this guy! Some of us cannot possibly speak of him without being reminded of the amazing dancer he is; today, we young people can look up to him for being the technological eye behind Alpha Rwirangira's recent jam "African Swagger". (If you were thinking he'd been signed to Roc-A-Fella, now you know who to be amazed by, if you haven't seen it, run to YouTube now.).
He is currently based in the US, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Film and Entertainment Business at Full Sail University. It turns out he has much more in terms of talent going on for him. But remains with his humility; charismatic, enthusiastic, goal-driven and a fearless dreamer! I had a chat with Ganza.
Below is how our conversation went;
Q. Has this always been your passion or your intended career?
A. Ever since childhood, I wanted to be involved in the entertainment business. Right from the time my grandmother told me stories and I could picture them and replay them in my head like a movie. As far back as then, I realised that I wanted to be part of the film industry. I had no idea how one shoots a movie but I knew one day I would learn and use that talent to tell stories out there.Being a music video director is a stepping-stone to the things I want to achieve in this field.
Q. As you gain experience, expertise and hopefully success, do you hope to invest your knowledge in Rwanda?
A. That's why I'm here; I'm here for Rwanda and Africa in general. I grew up in a society that doesn't promote art as a form of expression, unless through culture. I am here to gain enough knowledge to share with those who haven't been fortunate enough to get here. We have way too much talent at home but people often ignore it and pursue certain fields for the sake of the people or circumstances limiting them. I've watched talented folks completely fail because of these limitations. So I am here to learn, be successful and inspire the young to dare to dream. 'S.O AfrikaEntertainment' is currently the team I represent and basically we spread the idea of understanding the strength of dreams. We're a group of artistic individuals, graphic designers, entrepreneurs, cinematographers, rappers and singers based in the USA and beyond. Our primary mission is to put African artists on the map by providing them with the tools and platform necessary for them to succeed. Our secondary goal is to inspire the African youth to dare to dream because to date, being born and raised in Africa creates limits for many of us on great things we might achieve. We work as a team, as we entertain and spread positivity.
Q. Tell me about your experience in terms of challenges in this journey.
A. Equipment, I remember days I had ideas of things I wanted to shoot but never had the right equipment to support my ideas and being the perfectionist I am; I never wanted to just do it. I believed I needed the right equipment to do amazing things so patience was my only option. While I waited for the time when I would afford the equipment, I taught myself the rules of film and this was before I got into film school. It is while learning that I realised that a filmmaker doesn't need equipment to be able to express himself, so that's when I decided to shoot my first video - of me dancing. The easiest thing is how I come up with ideas; thoughts and ideas usually get in the way of my sleep. It makes my job much easier. That I'm a GREAT THINKER! (Laughs)
Q. What advice would you give to Rwandan youth regarding devotion to hardwork, taking chances and opportunities?
A. It is in our world that two brothers sat down and imagined an object carrying people flying across the land and sea. We also live in a world where the negative forces have been used against humanity, for example the Rwandan Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. If the negatives can be planned and executed absurdly successfully, then try imagining what positive intentions can do. Dare to dream, don't be afraid to fail. Work hard because the rest of the world is doing it except us. They say that good things come to those who wait but they mean good things come to those who wait while working hard to make dreams reality. Go for what you love, and what you enjoy doing and let those who doubt be your motivation.
Q. What's the best kind of support your supporters could possibly offer you?
A. Help me share my work.Via Internet. You can do a lot; retweet on twitter, share on Facebook or Google... basically have my work playing as far as possible. Plus, I need feedback about my work because I improve through comments, criticism and encouragement!
Q. What would you advise the older generation as well as the Ministry of Education to open their eyes more to, in terms of promoting arts in our country?
A. The government is currently dealing with everyday struggles to keep the country stable. I believe the people who need to modify their way of thinking about the issue accordingly are fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers and if that change occurs, the government will go with it regardless of whether they support it or not.
The change starts at home.
Life lessons: Among the super interesting things I learned from him was concerning boundaries. He says, "The fewer rules you apply to what you do, the more likely you are to do what has never been done before," also about education, "See, the greatest things on the planet came from imagination and hard work. Education is there to polish up and direct what is already in our minds and one must take advantage of it in order to master our vocation."
Now you can see for yourself and be proud, Rwanda has raised and continues to raise a thousand stars too.