At five the Primus Guma Guma Super Star (PGGSS) reality music show is now a distinct, annual event. At least all music enthusiasts now plan ahead and their calendars have the contest as an activity to look forward to.
But more so the standards for the show have now been established and one can comfortably and rightly say that though not predictable in terms of who will feature and the heights of fun to be experienced in the months of the contest, the underlying principles of the show are now clear and known.
How contestants are selected, what they go through during the competition, the activities involved and how the winner is identified is all now standard procedure.
All this has resulted into one of the best reality music competitions in the region, with the quality entertainment and development impacts it brings each year.
At five the number of Rwandan artists that have been touched and whose lives have improved beyond doubt and the impact that all this has had in the music industry cannot be exaggerated.
However besides touching individual artists and changing the face of the music industry from a playback sort of performances to live stage performing, PGGSS has also been a platform to involve musicians in community support activities and in so doing passing the message on to all Rwandan youth.
During the months of the show, artists are involved in a number of community support activities; to help the most vulnerable Rwandans forge on with life and find sources of livelihood that improve their wellbeing.
60 year old Mukamanzi Adella survived the genocide all alone. Her husband, children and relatives were killed during the 100 days in which more than a million people were brutally murdered in Rwanda.
With help from the Rwandan government and its stakeholders, Mukamanzi had a new home built for her as she felt she could never afford to go back in the neighborhood where the mayhem befell her.
But after acquiring a place to live, Mukamanzi had one other major challenge; the blinding darkness of her home when dusk set in.
All immediate homes had electricity, and this pushed her even further into isolation.
“I used to sleep at 6pm mostly because I was scared. It was as though I was living on a lonely island,” she describes.
But ever since the PGGSS season four contestants under the support of BRALIRWA electrified her house, life has significantly changed over the previous year of her life.
“These lights in my house did not only end the darkness in my home, but also shed in my heart and ever since I got connected to electricity, I am more social today that in the past.”
Today she listens to the radio which she could not have afforded in the past for battery cells are too costly, she reads her bible as she lays on her bed in the night.
Mukamanzi says she buys Frw500 (US$85 cents) worth of electricity which lasts her at least 11 days. “This is the cheapest lighting has ever been for me.”
A few houses as you slope from Mukamanzi’s is another old man whose family was literally annihilated.
For Ismail Sindabihaga who also benefited from the connections, electricity has made him feel safer.
“Security automatically improved in my viewpoint. I have security lights outside and its hard for any ill-intending person to have a hiding place.”
Bampire Sarah another beneficiary is all smiles as she makes the words, “nothing ever made me so happy like the day my house got connected to electricity such that by just tapping on the switch, light beams in every corner.”
“I iron my clothes, can read my bible even in the middle of the night, I watch TV (to this she broadens her smile), boil water on power,” the list goes on and on.
Bampie says with a home connected to electricity and water, the hardest of her challenges as a genocide widow.
Holding her grandchild Kimpaye Monica, who is in her mid 50’s, struggles to conceal strong emotions and breaks down in sobs.
“There are so many good things that have happened in my life which are so hard to explain in words,” she tells.
I am just very grateful.
According to Mr. Ethiene Rukwavu, the in charge of social affairs in Nyamirambo sector home to the mentioned beneficiaries to the electrification activity by PGGSS season four contestants, the move has helped these vulnerable people fit in with their neighbors and break the isolation in which they lived in the past.
“Yes they still have other needs but having electricity in their homes was a big change for them. The lights lit their houses but also mounted hope in their hearts.”
PGGSS season five contestants give 92 goats to Rwandans evicted from Tanzania
Competitors in the fifth season of the Primus Guma Guma Super Star on April 3rd extended a helping hand to their compatriots giving 92 goats to Rwandans expelled from Tanzania, supporting them to rejuvenate their lives and find new ways to live on after they were forced to leave the country in which many had resided for as long as their lives leaving all their belongings.
The 92 beneficiaries are part of the returnees who were settled in the Eastern Province district of Bugesera.
Though life remains so hard for them, they acknowledge that the good reception they received from fellow compatriots and the material support they have been given by different people to help them find a new life in their motherland is commendable.
Mperwa Mariana is a 73 year old woman who arrived in the country with two granddaughters.
Mperwa was one of the beneficiaries of the goats, and though she is skeptical whether it will have significant impact, she says most of her joy was for the concern and need to help displayed by fellow Rwandans.
“On our way to Rwanda, we did not know what to expect. We were worried that we may not even be accepted. We are so happy for the reception and the support. I am going to rare my goat and help my granddaughters for as long as I have left, but even at my death, I will die happily knowing that I died from my homeland and had been received so well by my compatriots.”
Smiles and laughter mixed in with the short performances that each of the ten PGGSS season five finalists made, branding the morning as time well spent.
According to the vice mayor in charge of social affairs in Bugesera district Uwiragiye Pricille, the support given to the returns by BRALIRWA and the artists was something commendable and good for every Rwandan to learn from.
“We are very happy that these young people who also double as some of our best artists in music feel the need to support vulnerable Rwandans to improve their standards of living. We are so glad for this and hope many other admirers of these stars can learn from them and adopt this culture.”
The goats according to Samuel Rukubaniza, another beneficiary will help them especially acquire manure to fertilise the small pieces of land their homes in which they cultivate vegetables.
However he also recorded that they lack agricultural land to grow enough food for their families.
“But considering what has been done in the short time since we came, we can only afford to say thank you but our hearts would love to do more to express how happy we are. We believe that even the remaining challenges will be met soon.”
According to BRALIRWA’s Freddy Nyangezi who was speaking at the function, the investment in such activities for artists is meant to strengthen a culture of giving back to community as one of the core values of the company, and use their popularity to influence more community support activities nationwide.
“We gladly note that ever since PGGSS begun, many music artists now engage in social support activities on their own; which is the main goal of involving contestants in such activities.”
Artists pride in the activity
Diva Knowles Butera who is one of the most popular female artists in contemporary Rwanda says that joining fellow Rwandans to find solutions to social and economic challenges faced by society gives her great joy.
“I am happy to have taken part in such a wonderful activity where as Rwandans, we work together to support each other in leading better lives. I am forever grateful to BRALIRWA for the opportunity.”
Being part of this activity is a blessing for us and for the compatriots we supported.
For the latter it is obvious that this is a good opportunity as it adds something more to their lives but also for us, we are glad for the chance through PGGSS to impact people’s lives.
Supporting fellow Rwandans is something I do very often but of course not in public face, it is a passion I have developed.
Platini of Dream Boys
Besides giving us a platform to build our music careers through getting new fans and improving our quality performance to meet the high standards of the show, BRALIRWA’s PGGSS gives us an opportune moment to support our fellow Rwandans.
This perhaps to me is the best part of the contest because the rest of what we do is part of our daily activities as musicians except for this community outreach. We are forever grateful and I am certain we learn so much from the activities.