Rwanda: 'Genocide' Actor Rwasa Dead At 43

Rwanda's nascent film industry is mourning the death of Dennis Nsanzamahoro aka Rwasa, 43, a director and actor who appeared in a number of major films based on the Genocide against the Tutsis.

Rwasa succumbed to diabetes on September 5, at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali.

He was popularly known as Rwasa, a name of a character in one of the lead film roles he played and which won the hearts of many of his countrymen.

His last film appearance was in Petit Pays (Small Country), a French film produced by Rwanda's Gaye Faye, which was shot in Rwanda in June this year.

He got involved in film in 1998, and acted in 100 Days, a prominent Hollywood drama film directed by Nick Hughes and produced by Eric Kabera.

In 2003, he featured in Sometimes In April, directed by Raoul Peck, which featured lead stars Edris Elba, Oris Erhuero and Carole Karemera.

He also featured in A Sunday in Kigali, a 2006 film by Robert Favreau and in Opération Turquoise, a 2007 film directed by Alain Tasma which starred Bruno Todeschini, Auréline Recoing among other actors.

Probably his best appearance was in Shooting Dogs, a 2005 film directed by Michael Caton Jones and starred John Hurt, Hugh Dancy and Clare Hope Ashitey.

Kabera, a film director and producer said: "Although he was a lead supporting actor, his screen present was huge, a character like no other."

Rwasa's love for music saw him make several appearances in local music videos and recently, he appeared in TV commercials too.

A self-taught radio preenter and filmmaker, Rwasa wrote, directed and starred in local films Sakabaka and Rwasa, which were the first Rwandan television series to air on the national broadcaster Rwanda Television and where he got his nickname from.

He also acted in the Kinyarwanda film Ay'Urukundo.

He was one of the founding members of Music Awards Rwanda, an event which is yet to stage its first edition next year.

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