Kashfa Gashamura, best known as Kash King Gashamura, son to fallen Rwandan solider Paul Mungarurire, is a renowned TV personality and actor in Norway.
Kash left Rwanda for the Scandinavian nation when he was only two years.
His late father was also an artist; he was good in fine art, singing, playing guitar. When Kash’s family left for Norway, his father, Mungarurire, opted to go to Uganda where he joined others for final preparations to liberate their country – Rwanda. He would later be killed during the liberation war.
Joseph Njata caught up with Kash King Gashamura during his recent visit to Kigali. Below are the excerpts.
Q: Who is Kashfa Gashamura?
A: A 22-year-old actor, who also works on TV commercials on a Norwegian broadcasting company called National Channel. I work on children series and have two programmes; Kash and Zook everyday at 6p.m. My voice is in many commercials on Radio, TV and the Internet.
Q: What brings you to Rwanda this time?
A: I am here for a travel show. There is a famous journalist in Norway, who has a new programme that brings famous people on TV back to their home countries. I am very happy to be among them. He is also taking five other people around the world to meet their families and capture their stories.
He knows that my father died in the war, and I have not seen my grandmother for the last twelve years. That could be a good story to tell because we are also somehow looking for details about my father and we are filming the process.
Q: When did you last visit Rwanda?
A: I was last in Rwanda twelve years ago, and I think Rwanda is the nicest country in Africa. I am very impressed and believe the current government is doing a very good job. People here are happy.
I think many countries in the world have a lot to learn from Rwanda. Also, the television crew that brought me here wrote that many countries can learn from Rwanda.
Q: Tell me one thing that impressed you most?
A: I was very impressed to see that you have sideways next to the road where people can walk. You do not find that everywhere in Europe. We might have them in Norway and Scandinavian countries, but not everywhere in Africa, even in the USA many places do not have sidewalks.
I was so happy that people do not have to walk on the main road. You see Rwanda is on the move, it is the place to be.
Q: What are your future plans for Rwanda?
A: I am planning to come back, settle and do business in Rwanda. I need to learn Kinyarwanda first. I only speak English and Norwegian but I also want to learn Kinyarwanda. I am coming back for the language.
I have hope one day I will bring my family here. Once I get back to Norway, I will pitch some programmes for Rwanda.
First, it will be Norway Cup. It’s the biggest football competition in the world and it is for kids between six to eighteen years old. They come from various countries from all over the world.
They are like thirty thousand kids and none from Rwanda. I will bring a Rwandan team to Norway. Even if they do not win, it’s good for experience and we can do this annually.
In addition, it’s good to know that H.E President Paul Kagame loves soccer and he is an Arsenal fan just like me. He was on Norwegian media the other day talking about Arsenal. I like that because I am a fan as well.
Q: It’s surprising that you are a big name at your age, any message to the youth in Rwanda?
A: People in Norway also get surprised. There are about three thousand people in the company I work for and on TV, there are about sixty but there are only five people of my age.
I can tell the young Rwandans there is hope. Keep doing what you believe in, if its music, acting, reading books do it!
In Norway, things were very hard for me in the beginning, but I did not let anybody tell me that I cannot make it. Never! You can make it. If your dream is to be a singer, sing anywhere because you never know where your chance will come from.
Go and look for people who know music, go show them what you can do. The country needs more entertainers, dancers, singers and actors – not only in Rwanda but also in other parts of the world. Make maximum use of the Internet. If you save a little money, travel. Go and see and come back with new ideas. Do not give up on your dream!
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I am joining the biggest theatre in Norway called Det Norske Teateret, to play the jungle book in October.
I am going to play Mowgli which is musical and I have to learn to play guitar. I want people from Rwanda to come and I wish President Kagame would come for the premiere.
The theatre has never hired anybody from outside for the last seven years because they have their own actors who work there. I was very lucky, I will be singing on the stage, dancing and acting. It’s a very big thing for me and I would really love Rwandans to come.
Q: How do you think your story will be received in Norway?
A: For the first time, Norway will see the real beauty of Rwanda because whenever they show Africa, they only show the negative part of it like poverty. This time, it will be different and I know it will bring people to Rwanda. I will keep doing this. It is my mission to bring people to Rwanda. Norwegians will eagerly come to see Rwanda themselves.
By Linda Mbabazi, The New Times