It was with the partnership of the Non-Governmental Organization, “Easy and Possible” with the family of the late musician Mutamuriza Annonciata who was known under the name of Kamariza that there began a project that will teach Rwandans patriotism, catering for the needy and volunteerism.
The meeting of the two partnering bodies was held on February 22, 2016, at Kamariza’s family residence in Kimisagara, Nyarugenge district to discuss the implementation of the project. The members of Easy and Possible explained why they chose Kamariza saying that she is a Rwandese who showed patriotism upon her country when she decided to join the military in the liberation war. From the battle, Kamariza kept her patriotism by engaging herself in supporting the orphans of the Genocide made against Tutsi in 1994.
The family of the late musician were delighted to notice that after twenty years, there are many people who still remember Kamariza and appreciate her contribution to the country.
Some of the plans of this project include alerting Rwandans about patriotism and serving the country voluntarily, organizing a tribute week to Kamariza once a year in which all those activities will be performed and making a concert whereby her songs will be performed. The students of Nyundo Music performed in this concert.
After a proposed time of preparation, the concert of remembering her heroic actions took place in Serena Hotel Kigali on August 12, 2017. The concert was organized by the students in Diaspora and Easy and Possible Organization.
Artists who lived with Kamariza like MariyaYohana, Nyiranyamibwa Suzanne, MasambaIntore and many others performed in the concert. The members of IndahemukaBand (in which Kamariza was a member) who are still active and others who are still young like Jules Sentore and those who interpret Kamariza’s songs, Ange and Pamela also participated in the concert.
Kamariza’s relatives and those who grew up with her until she joined the military described her as a brave woman who was a hero. “She had a great vision of helping the country,” they described her. “Above all she liked orphans.”
Uwanjye Mariya, 65, a sister to Kamariza said that Kamariza grew up playing the guitar and she derived the inspiration from their parent who was a singer. When she was a teenager, she was so brave and, therefore, nicknamed “Parakomando.” She further explained why there is always a sense of sorrow in her sister’s songs saying that she grew with sorrow that was caused by her mother’s death. She found others mourning for her mother when she was coming from school. This caused her great sorrow that manifested in almost all her songs.
Mariya was convinced that Kamariza is in Heaven and considered the concert as Kamariza’s wedding. “I am sure that she is in the Heavenly Kingdom. This is her wedding. She liked the orphans so much. When she left, we had three children, but with the help of her friend NzambazamariyaVenelanda, we added more children. We are now a big family.”
Mariya started catering foe orphans after coming from Burundi where their family had fled to. She put in much effort when her sister founded “Girubuntu Kamariza Foundation,” which was to take care of the orphans of the 1994 Genocide made against Tutsi.
Masamba, an active singer who lived with Kamariza in the forest described her as a woman who loved others more than she loved herself, and that despite her slimness, she was extremely brave. Masamba insisted that Kamariza was very a faithful and intelligent artist.
Mariya Yohana who knew Kamariza in real life and in the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) expressed his gratitude to the Diaspora and Easy and Possible Organization for the organization of the concert. “These children are still young. They do not know Kamaliza. Even Jules Sentore does not know her as you heard. Loving a person you did not know but only because of her songs, is an act of love. It was not easy for them but they were capable of it.”
He talked of her efforts in the foundation of Indahemuka brand which performed to encourage the solders of RPA on the battlefield. Mukade, Karinganire, Minani Rwema, Teddy, Mariya Yohani, Kamaliza, and many others were members of this band.
Different artists interpreted Kamariza’s songs in this concert and many could be emotionally taken because the songs would go hand in hand with the main events of Kamariza’s life. A movie describing her life was also projected and many were emotionally taken when it reached the fatal accident she had when coming from Burundi.
After the concert, the target for Easy and Possible Organization and the students from Diaspora was to do something for the family of Kamariza, as it was in their initial plan. Kamariza’s family, as represented by Uwanjye Mariya, was handed a one million Rwandan Francs cheque. Among the organizers of the concert were those who were raised by Kamariza who were thankful that all went well though it was not easy as this was for the first time preparing such an event.
Receiving the cheque, Mariya showed her gratitude to the organizers of the concert who struggled hard for the concert to take place and requested them to keep valuing the musicians who left behind a good tradition including Kamariza, her sister.
“This million francs is going to help me in my everyday life. There is something ahead. One of my children is going to wed. I will tell him, ‘receive what Kamariza has given you. It is what she is capable of. Receive it and take care of the rest yourself.” She added.
The organizers of the concert said that they would wish to make more concerts like this in the memory of other musicians who left good deeds to the country.
“When organizing the concert, we wanted to remind the youth that they are the cornerstone of the country. We wanted them to know that there are people who did great things in their young age. We wanted them to know that there is what they can do for others to consider.” Said Niyigena Sano Francois, the Chief Executive Officer of Easy and Possible Organization.
A brief history of Kamariza
Mutamuriza Annonciata, born on March 25, 1954, on Leandre Rusingizandekwe and Mukarushema Berenadeta isan artist who was known as Kamariza. She was born on Rukara hill in Runyinya in the current district of Nyaruguru.
Kamariza and her family fled to Ngagara in Burundi in 1959 where she learned her primary school. Her mother died in 1968 and she was sent to her aunt in DRC whose name was Ana Mariya Murekeyisoni. This is because her father thought that Kamariza needed somebody to be in her mother’s position.
Kamariza continued her secondary school in Lubumbashi and started to sing in a Catholic choir. Her aunt, however, was never amused by her actions of music. Without Kamariza’s consent, her aunt tried to wed her to make her leave the music industry. Kamariza asked for permission to go to Burundi and never went back to Congo. She got a job in the Ministry of Economics in Bujumbura. In the short holidays and after the work, she practiced music and recorded herself on the tapes on a radio that she was given by her friend Theresa.
In 1990, she joined the army in the liberation war. She went with her guitar and she sung for her fellow male soldiers to cheer them up on the battlefield, and in the concerts of Indahemuka Band, she was among the loved ones. Returning in the country, she resumed her music and started helping the orphans founding “Girubuntu Kamariza Organization”, advised by her then-friend Nzambazamariya Veneranda.
On the 5th of November 1996, she was involved in a fatal accident when she was in a car coming from Burundi in a way to visit her family in Rwanda. She died a Sergent in the military ranks.