By The Independent team
Since 1997, Eric Senderi Nzaramba well-known by his stage name as Senderi International Hit has been among others singing commemoration songs. His decision to concentrate more on this type of music, the artiste says is based on his true life story. In an exclusive interview with Susan Babijja, Senderi who has over 32 songs of genocide commemoration said his mission is to inspire the young generation to overcome the effects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
How did you come up with the idea of singing songs of genocide commemoration?
Rebuilding this country is a responsibility of every Rwandan. Although we do it is various ways based on areas or ones capacity and responsibilities engaged in,
I believed as a musician, this is just one of the ways through which I can easily contribute to the rebuilding process.
Exactly what is the message in your commemoration songs?
I try as much as possible to come up with commemoration songs or music that brings back hope to the population especially the young generation given what we went through. It informs and reminds them about their responsibilities to making their country a better place in this World.
You say what you went through inspired you to sing commemoration songs; what exactly do you mean?
It is not easy to spot a family in this country that was not affected by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. However, we were affected in various ways. On my side, I lost my family members and just remained with one brother. Everyone has a story to tell. This affected me and I had to standout and comfort fellow Rwandans with similar or even worse effects of those dark days.
What are some of these songs you have released?
Just to mention a few, I have songs like ‘Humura Nti bizongera’ which I released in 1997. Others are ‘Guhanga si uguhaga’, ‘Nyarubuye I wacu hari heza’ and ‘Murambi wa rangiritse’ among others.
How do you come up with these songs every year?
Well, every year there are great steps the government and other development partners make in developing this country; and this actually the first point to note in coming up with a good message that will give the population and my fans hope in the future. So I try as much as possible to inform the population about that. But I also call on their participation in building the country. Basically, it all rotates around what can make this country get back from the dark past, what has been done and future plans to enable the general population recognise the state or standard we have reached despite what we went through 20 years ago.
As we mark 20 years since genocide happened in this country, as a musician, what is your word to the public especially the young generation?
What I want the public to know is that the 100 days in which our country experienced such a historical tragedy should inspire all of us so that we work towards a common goal of taking our nation to the level that should be admired. And the only way or easiest way to do this is to ensure that we stand so strong against ideologies that can take us back and focus on a bright future
Which other ways have you used your talent to inspire the public?
Twenty years after the genocide, Rwandese have actually moved on and by use of my talent, I have not only managed to sing commemoration songs but also real life. I have released songs like Abanyarwanda Twaribohoye, Abasore Bariho Nta Cash, Kaci Kaci, Ndanyuzwe, Sukura Umujyi, Icyomoro, Nsomyaho, Stop Nyakatsi and Sofia among others. And am sure with this style, I am using my talent to inspire change and mindset of many Rwandese especially survivors.
Who is Senderi?
Born in 1977 in Nyarubuye Sector, Kirehe district in the Eastern Province, Eric Senderi is the third born in the family nine children. He is son to Rutagwabira Ntampuhwe and Esperanse Mukaderevu. Senderi has contributed to the liberation struggle as an army officer. He started his musical career when he was still serving in RPF.
Senderi’s songs have been credited for factual stories about 1994 Genocide. One of his many songs credited include Intimba y’intore y’Imana literally translated as ‘The sorrow of God’s warrior’.