Long before visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial, even before stepping onto Rwandan soil, I had so many questions. Questions that every visitor to Rwanda must ask to even begin the journey to understanding a country that has been to hell and back. Rwanda has in the past few years transformed itself into a magnet for travel enthusiasts, with the country’s dark past replaced by a serenity that draws in tourists from around the world.
Kigali is friendly to people who like exploring on foot although it might take more time to tour the city this way still offers good exercise and help work up an appetite for the famous meal of roast meat and fried banana.
MY STAY AT NYAMIRAMBO: Nyamirambo a pretty diverse and stretched-out neighborhood, encompassing the southwestern corner of Kigali. And a huge corner, at that! It’s a big place with the main part bordering town and ‘deep’ Nyamirambo (also referred to as Gangster’s Paradise) which stretches all the way up the hills into the distance. This is one of the most vibrant and interesting neighborhoods in Kigali. It’s full of mosques and many of the city’s Muslim residents live here. Unlike the rest of Kigali which seems to shut down at 8pm with everyone inside their homes, Nyamirambo hustles and bustles late into the night. When the rest of Kigali has gone to sleep (except for a few bars and clubs scattered around town), Nyamirambo lives on! People are out and about in this area at all hours and many of the local bars here stay open late and make a good place to go dancing. If you’re sick of seeing people you know at places like Ogopogo and Sundowner and want to feel a bit more anonymous, come to Nyamirambo for a night out. The bars here are cheap, the food is good, you’ll often encounter strange forms of entertainment (like lip synching stripper-ish types and farting/barking comedians) and it’s a lot of fun. The toilets are generally pretty horrifying, though, so… well, I don’t really have a recommendation. Just expect the worst and that bad part about going out in Nyamirambo won’t seem quite so bad.
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Africa by visitors on travel sites and on social media, Kigali did not happen overnight. It has taken almost 20 years to rebuild the city’s physical, psychological and legal character. And yet it lives up to this newfound but long overdue fame with grace. My passion for Rwanda stems from its tragic history. Not that I was aware of the horrifying dimension back in 1994, but I realized that this was different to the many civil wars that Africa has been plagued with. The film "Hotel Rwanda" left an inerasable imprint in my heart. What puzzled me now was the question “How does a small country like Rwanda cope with the murder of 10% of its population within 100 days?” Of course the question couldn’t be answered during a three weeks visit, except a few glimpses.
Rwanda’s trademark is its “Mille Collines”. Add green and you understand why its thousand hills are a sight of its own. Tourism in Rwanda started in the late 1970s, when a few tourists came to trek the rare mountain gorillas. In the aftermath of the genocide, few tourists dared this traumatized country, but now they arrive in serious numbers. The gorillas are still the number one reason to come, but the Genocide Memorial in Kigali, the biggest of its kind in the country, has added another dimension.
Rwanda is extremely organized, safe and very easy to travel. Zillions of punctual (!) busses crisscross the country. Short distances are covered by Moto, motorbike taxis. Except for public transport, Rwanda is not cheap, at least not for tourists!
Compared to other African countries, I found Rwandans extremely law-abiding and orderly. The president’s political conduct seems partly responsible. Paul Kagame runs a tight ship. He was the leader of the Rwandan Patrotic Front that ended the genocide and has led the country since then. What some find undemocratic and authoritarian, others justify as the only way to unite and to steer the country from its nightmare.
Rwanda’s 6% economic growth and tough anti-corruptions law has been noticed internationally, as were Kagame’s even bigger plans: in 2020, he sees Rwanda as the technology hub of East Africa. The speed and eagerness to advance makes this a realistic goal. Just to give one example, 40% of Rwandans own mobile phone, almost a national addiction. But those are much more than just phones. They are used for cash transfer, to check on commodity prices, consult a doctor and of course for taking photos of each other.
To me Rwanda is special, different to all other African countries I have visited so far. Long before I went there, I had so many images, opinions and presumptions about its history, the genocide, politics, its unique gorillas, more than about any other country on this continent. I thought I knew what to expect.
Bang, and then nothing was like I had imagined it! The horror of the genocide hit me more than I could envision. But I also was stunned by the swift and successful rising from the ashes and the healing achieved so far. The beauty of thousands of green hills, my unforgettable encounters in the villages

Many sad stories can be heard at the end of the visit in the Memorial. Women telling how they were raped and had babies as a result, that they rejected afterwards and how some of them were infected with HIV. The destruction of the city was massive and it took a long time to rebuild while the survivors were still traumatized from what happened. Some tell that they lost all their relatives. One particular testimony really touched me, a couple that met by participating in activities of the Memorial. On their wedding day only friends were present as they had lost all relatives from both sides during the genocide……………
I’ll soon write & Publish more about KIGALI GENOCIDE MEMORIAL..
I hope you get the time to visit Kigali Genocide Memorial, a sad place with lessons to be leaned!


Tebogo Ditshego is the Group CEO of Ditshego Investment Group, CEO of Ditshego Media, Chairman of the South African Reading Foundation, and Judge in season 4 and 5 of SABC 1 programme One Day Leader. In 2017, he was selected to serve as a judge in the Gauteng Premier’s Service Excellence Awards.

He grew up in Kagiso, which is in the West Rand of Johannesburg and started his first company Ditshego Media in 2011. Three years later, on 5 February 2014, he was listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s top 30 African Entrepreneurs under the age of 30.

In November 2016, Tebogo Ditshego received the “Nestlife Assurance: Young Business Achiever of the year” award at the BBQ Magazine awards.

He is the founder of South Africa’s biggest online book club Read a book SA which has over 39,000 followers on Twitter, and over 15,000 books recommended by its followers. Tebogo Ditshego is the author of bestselling fiction book “Kasi Nerd” which he published and distributed through Ditshego Media. It was launched on 22 April 2016 and is available at Exclusive Books & Van Schaik Bookstores.

On 24 January 2017, Tebogo Ditshego was voted as Avance Media’s most influential young South African in business. He went on to participate in the Austrian Leadership Programme organised by the Austrian Government, for International Business Leaders in March 2017. In 2015, Tebogo Ditshego was listed as one of Fast Company Magazine’s top 100 most creative South Africans in business.

Tebogo Ditshego was nominated for the University of Johannesburg’s Alumni Dignitas Award in 2015, which honours graduates who achieve a dynamic legacy of accomplishment. He represented the University of Johannesburg twice consecutively at the annual Southern African Communications Conference for his Honours research essays.

He holds an Honours Degree in Communications from the University of Johannesburg and he has a certificate of completion in a Business and Entrepreneurship course from the University of Wisconsin in the US.

SEIF KABELELE: What is the greatest mistake you’ve committed in your current position and how has it contributed to building your mental capabilities as a leader?
      TEBOGO DITSHEGO: I made three mistakes that really stood out in the early         
            Ages of starting Ditshego Media;
Using the spray and pray method. I wrote a standard email and sent it to the various companies who we wanted to work with. This almost led to a couple of successful deals being made, but it didn’t quite work out. The lesson I learnt from this inspired Ditshego Media’s slogan “Tailor-Made Solutions.” We don’t offer any two clients the same solutions because every organisation has unique objectives, dynamics and challenges, which we need to resolve.
SEIF KABELELE: How did you go about developing your brand as a young entrepreneur?
      TEBOGO DITSHEGO: My brand was built like the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids.     
       With an ambitious long-term vision, a solid educational foundation, and at a
        Standard that put us in a position to inspire future generations of Africans.
        You have to take it one step at a time and live your brand, so that it can
        Withstand challenges when it is put to the test.
       SEIF KABELELE: You launched a company and failed. Why?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   The company failed mainly because it was started without capital, the market wasn’t too receptive and because I was a novice in the world of business.
SEIF KABELELE: What lessons did you apply when re-launching the business in 2011?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   We went from being a mass producer in terms of marketing services to a marketing company that offers Tailor-Made solutions. As you would know an outfit that is tailor-made makes you look much sharper than one that wasn’t designed especially with you in mind.
SEIF KABELELE: How did you succeed in building the reputation of this new business?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   Our team constantly goes the extra mile and continuously comes up with innovative solution that place us a step ahead of the competition. We’re very agile and responsive and the company’s philosophy comes to life in our work and the results we achieve for our clients. So this helps us with our brand because we don’t just talk the talk, we also walk the walk.
SEIF KABELELE: How has social media enabled you to grow the company?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   It has cut out the middleman and provided us with a platform to showcase our offering for all to see. Social Media was a game-changer because companies could no longer use their decades of experience to gain an edge over startups, it leveled the playing field.
SEIF KABELELE: What book changed your life?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   “The African Origins of Civilisation” and “Precolonial Africa” by Cheikh Anta Diop. These books played a major role in developing my pride in Africa and shaped the lenses through which I view the continent. It also shattered stereotypes about Africa being a dark continent, because this indeed is the cradle of civilisation.
SEIF KABELELE: What inspired you to start ‘ReadABookSA’? And why did you choose to do it via twitter?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   I envision an Africa that leads in invention, innovation and knowledge production that is globally competitive, In order for Africa to reach its full potential we need to develop a culture of reading and hunger for knowledge. So I started ReadabookSA and used my marketing expertise to spread a culture of reading and also to make it cool to be intelligent, hence I coined the term IntellectualSwag.

SEIF KABELELE: What is the one thing that young people that want to emulate you would have to learn to sacrifice or do without in order to get to where you are?
TEBOGO DITSHEGO:   A winner is a loser who is to stubborn to give up. Never give up.


The Zanzibar International Film Festival tonight hosted its official Awards Ceremony, presented by Zanlink.

At this event, the various juries presented all of its awards, from the annual Silver and Golden Dhows to a host of new awards including the Trace Mziki East African Music Video Award and the Adiaha Award for Best Female African Documentary Filmmaker.

After eight days filled with film screenings, over 15 different workshop programmes, live music, and ZIFF’s first film and TV market SOKO FILAM, ZIFF 2017 was a major success, appreciated both by the hundreds of industry players in attendance, as well as audiences from across the globe.

Over 50 filmmakers in attendance from over 12 countries were joined by more than 100 SOKO FILAM delegates, as well as workshops facilitators and jury members from around the world. ZIFF’s Chief Guest, US-based producer Dexter Davis conducted a three-day workshop that culminated in a pitching competition for African filmmakers.

Davis announced a prize for the winning pitch of between $50 -200,000 to produce the feature film. The winner of the competition was Amy Lusekelo from Tanzania.

ZIFF also announced the dates and theme for the festival 2018, that will take place from July 7th – 15th with the theme Speak Up and Say It! Sema na Usikike.

There are times when silence speaks very loud but most of the time when we do not speak we lose more than sound. When we speak up it is because we feel that silence will not do. We speak up to stand for what we believe in and we speak up to stand for others. We often speak up because we can no longer stand silent when we see oppression taking place. But speaking up requires courage, consistence and taking position.

Through film we can speak up and let all those who see a movie or hear about it know that we can never be silenced.

So speak up and just say it!

ZIFF would also like to take this opportunity to thank its key sponsors and partners:

Danish Film Institute
DoubleTree by Hilton
British Council
Maru Maru Hotel
Azam Marine Division
Trace Mziki
US Embassy Dar es Salaam
Kenya Film Classification Board
Milele Zanzibar Foundation
Ethiopian Airlines
Emerson Foundation
Goethe Institute
Sauti za Busara
Italian Embassy Dar es Salaam
Embassy of Israel
Park Hyatt Zanzibar
Clouds Plus TV
African Movie Channel
Maharaba Swahili Music Festival
Wanene Productions


Film School Award
The Final Border – David Wayne Smith (AFDA South Africa)

Best East African Talent Award: Kony: Order from Above, Steven Ayeni (Uganda) - $1000
Best African Film: Noem My Skollie/ Call me Thief, Daryne Joshua (South Africa)

Chairperson / Bi Kidude Award
White Potion: Ash Mswaki, (Tanzania/Turkey)

Adiaha Award for Best African Female Documentary Sponsored by O MESS (Nigeria) and Red Flag Content Relations (South Africa) ($2000)
The African Who Wanted to Fly: Samantha Biffot (Gabon/Belgium/France)

Emerson of Zanzibar Foundation Award
Kokota: Islet of Hope: Craig Norris

European African Film Festival Award (1000 Euros)
T-Junction: Amil Shivji (Tanzania)

Sembene Ousmane Awards ($2000 each)
The Hangman: Zwelethu Radebe (South Africa)
Maria: Kamau Wandungu (Kenya)
Gerretta: Mantegaftot Silehshi

Trace Mziki East African Music Video AwardWinner to receive video produced by Wanene Productions.
Eddy Kenzo – Jubilation (Uganda)

Bongo Movie Awards presented by Comnet
Best Actress: Hawa Ally in T-Junction
Best Actor: Ibrahim Osward in Hadithi za Kumekucha: Tuna
Best Editor: Freddy Feruzi: Genge
Best Cinematographer: Freddy Feruzi: Genge
Best Screenplay/Writer: Kiumeni, Ernest Napoleon and Daniel Manege
Best Film in Sound: Homecoming; Seko Shamte
Best Director: Nicholas Marwa; Kiumeni
Best Feature Film: T-Junction; Amil Shivji

Best Short Film: The Hangman, Zwelethu Radebe (South Africa)
Best Animation: TIS, Said Hamich (France)
Best Documentary: Mama Colonelle, Dieude Hamadi (DRC)
Best Feature from Dhow Countries: Half Ticket, Samit Kakkad (India)
Best Short from Dhow Countries: Azaad, Rahul V. Chitella (India)
Best International Film: Wallay, Berni Goldbat (Burkino Faso / Qatar)
Best African Film: Watu Wote / All of Us, Katja Benrath (Kenya)

Golden Dhow for Best Feature Film presented by Showmax ($3000)
Noem My Skollie/ Call me Thief, Daryne Joshua (South Africa)


It has been  a week of films here at Stone Town,  a lot has happened and more is yet to happen at a festival that started with some very wise words from the former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete.
 ZIFF Guest Jakaya Kikwete at ZIFF 2017.
Copyright 2017, Peter Bennett

 Several film makers and industry stake holders from across the world descended on the Spice Islands to pick a thing or two from the festival that has been running for 20 years now.

There have been a great response from local film makers but unfortunately not the so-called stars of the Bongo movies theirs seem to be a resigned case.

In our midst was Dexter Davis the CEO of D Street a production company whose presence added glamour to the festival and he had some very wise words for film makers at a series of the workshops that he facilitated.

The movies were great that is a fact that most film enthusiasts admit, however what has been very obvious that organisers cannot afford to ignore is the call to modernize.

For the thousands who have travelled thousands of miles to be part of this spectacle, some it was their first time whereas for others it has become a routine that is firmly marked on their calendars.

They were all here in confirmation of the edition’s theme christened Finding Joy, probably not all of them for there were those whose films were barred by the film board due to erotic scenes.
The week has been full of activity featuring World Premieres of more than three films, works shops by veteran film makers, the Soko Filamu experience and even the village panoramas.
The choice of former President Jakaya Kikwete as the opening day guest of honour has remained a buzz around the Old Fort and it was one that was well thought of as he left the festival organisers with something to think about.
Though he remains a great fan of the festival and its aspirations Mr Kikwete is convinced that that the festival is yet to utilize its huge potential to the very end.
“This festival is talked about almost everywhere and when you choose to maximize its potential there is every possibility that it can achieve what other festivals across the world have achieved. Make it big!” he says amid a loud applause.
 “I have been told that you that this year alone you have registered about 14,000 visitors who have come specifically for this festival but this could still get better if you followed the examples that have been set elsewhere,” he said.
But as the president gave festival organisers a pep talk, there was something that was rather amiss, not even the tourism minister for the Isles was present for such a grand ceremony.
It is yet to be explained why he chose to stay away but hopefully it was all for the right reasons that befits no further questioning.