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Mount Kenya University Rwanda shines at KIMFEST Awards 2022

Kigali International Multicultural Festival (KIMFEST) is a forum and platform that brings together people from all walks of the world living and working in Rwanda to celebrate and share their different traditions, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds through arts and creativity.

In a colorful event organised by Karisimbi Events in partnership with the Rwanda Cultural Fashion Show (RCFS), held at ONOMO Hotel in Kigali on August 5, 2022, the forum awarded outstanding fashion icons, artists and journalists which saw Mount Kenya University’s Jeannette Kawera scoop herself an award for Female Entertainment Journalist for the year 2022-2023.

Jane Babirye a Media and Mass communications student at Mount Kenya University had an exclusive interview with her about her life, and how she was able to be the outstanding journalist in the category beating her male counterparts.

Jeanette Kawera-Female Entertainment Journalist KIMFEST 2022-2023

Good morning Jeannette, thank you for honoring my invitation and congratulations upon your win in the recently concluded KIMFEST AWARDS.

Thank you Jane (laughs when she realizes they share names).

Tell us about yourself, who is Jeannette Kawera?

Jeannette Kawera also known as KAJETTE is a Rwandan professional and passionate journalist, born and raised in the Southern province, Gisagara district by a single mother. I’m the last born of four girls one being my twin sister.

Which schools did you attend?, because you write for New Times Rwanda an English publication and yet it’s of recent that English as a language has become official in Rwanda.

In secondary I studied English, Kiswahili, and Kinyarwanda at Groupe Scholaire Sainte Bernadette, SAVE and later went to Akilah Institute for Women where I majored in Hospitality Management and Leadership.

How did you end up in journalism yet you majored in Hospitality and Management?

Growing up, I always had the passion to do Journalism and nothing ever stopped me. Even when my mom couldn’t afford taking me to university back then and she chose to take me to AKILAH, I enrolled for a journalism course online while studying at Akilah at the same time. That’s how I ended up graduating from YALA Women International Journalism Academy and later worked for Inyarwanda Ltd. before joining The New Times publication.

Speaking of Inyarwanda, one of my course mates posted you on his whats-app status just after I had written to you asking for an interview. Before you replied, I decided to do a background check with him to get to know you better and among the things he told me, besides you being the first journalist who gave him a professional interview while you were working with Inyarwanda is that you’re into charity, can you tell us more about that?

Since my childhood, I was into charity activities and in 2016, I initiated a kind of family dubbed “YOUTH FOR CHARITY” (Y4C) and we do charity without expecting anything in return. Among the people we help are; people from poor households, patients in hospitals, covering Health insurance for poor families and many more. Last year I also initiated “FIGHT AGAINST PERIOD POVERTY CAMPAIGN”.

Well, that’s some good work over there, I have always wanted to do charity but never really started and am sure I’m not the only one. What are the requirements for one to do charity, do they have to be rich or something?

You don’t really have to be rich to do charity, its not about the money but the heart to give and help. What I do is not an NGO, I do it personally with the little I have, I find a person who needs help and I help them directly. Except for the campaign, that was so big that I had to consult district officers at some point.

Earlier on you said you graduated from YALA International Women Journalism Academy, but from my research, you happen to be studying Journalism at Mount Kenya University Rwanda. Are you there for a Master’s?

No am not doing a Mater’s, actually I started from scratch; a Bachelor’s degree is what I’m pursuing. The thing is, I do have the experience but also feel like something is lacking. I need to be on top of the game and the only way I can do that is by having a bigger education background. Also, the way I studied at YALA it was online and most of the time it was in hiding because my mom didn’t want me to do journalism, This time round, everyone is aware and they’re supportive because they saw how passionate and dedicated I am towards journalism.

Fast forward to the Award for Female Entertainment Journalist, how were you nominated and why?

I am a journalist and I mostly write about entertainment; be it music, films, visual art, concerts, etc. showbiz at large. Why was I nominated?, I think its because I love what I do and I put my whole in it so my work speaks for itself. An International platform “Dedza film” was the first to like my articles one being about a Rwandan guy with creative space and they published it on their website.

Was the “Female Entertainment Journalist” Award your first Award?

It’s my 3rd Award, the first two are special recognition awards: The 2021 Humanitarian Award from the Consumers Choice Awards because of the “Fight Against Period Poverty Campaign” and The 2022 Excellence Service Award from Barista For Better.

Jeannette-Humanitarian Award for “Fight Against Period Poverty”
Kajette and her Service Excellence Award

One can say you have achieved a lot already, yet you don’t seem to be giving up anytime soon. Whats the force behind your hard work?

I love what am doing and am not ready to stop at all. Like they say, when you love what you’re doing, you never have to work a single day. so to me this is no work at all, its more of fun to me. What keeps me going and motivated is the feedback I get as its positive most of the time and also the people around me; my work helps people so thinking about what would happen to them if I ever give up keeps me pushing regardless the barriers I may face on the way.

How would you advise the young people out there who may be looking up to you and would want to have the same achievements?

To the young people, you are amazing and so much capable of doing a lot more than you could think. All you have to do is determine your career, seek for help if need be, find mentors, and never give up whatsoever. Above all, Pray and seek God’s guidance in all you do.

Follow links to read Jeannette’s articles and more about her previous Awards;

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