The light Magazine

Nyaminani: Rwanda’s female football producer and editor deifies the odds

Written by: George Kalisa
Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, 4:30

Many a times when people are served with a delicious dish at a party, call it anything they praise their host. That’s the order of the day. When people are asked to give a vote of thanks, they do that. And, they baptize the fete adjectives like “memorable”  “historic”, “thrilling”, et cetera.


But, there’s always an unknown person and/or team who face challenges in the cuisine. Try to peep at chefs you will wonder the manner in which they fight with smoke as if the police is using teargas to disperse rioters. Surprisingly, no guest thanks them when the food meets their tastes. Nonetheless, they will silently grumble if there’s an overdose of any ingredient such as salt.


A similar situation is replicated in real life and in all fields. For instance, football lovers in Rwanda praise AZAM TV for broadcasting football with incredibly nice images and sounds but they nurse the temptation not to be thankful to the football producers and editors, read technicians.


Neither do they care to know who they are. Their interests are limited to which team won, who scored the goals?  Which team is on the top of the table? And, of course, the sports betting bit.       


AZAM TV has a team of five sports producers most of whom operate “immovable” video cameras and fans never see them. But, there’s one video producer whom you have seen if you watch matches in Rwanda stadiums. None can miss catching a glimpse of a lady with swift movements carrying a seven- kilogramme video camera as if she were a soldier at a battle field to ensure that Rwandan football lovers don’t miss any bit of a match. She does this work for more than 90 minutes every time there’s a football match.


This is none other than Isabelle Nyaminani who has defied the odds in a male dominated soccer field by rising through the ranks of video filming to becoming an admired and excellent Camera Operator and Editor at AZAM TV Rwanda. George Kalisa spoke to her during an exclusive interview.


She said little did she know in her school days that she will one day do this job. She is sporty and assertive though many prefer to call her gigantic.


Q: Surely, our readers might have seen you doing your thing at the football pitch during matches but they may not know you. Can you introduce yourself?


A: My name is Isabelle Nyaminani. I work as the Camera Operator and Editor at AZAM TV. I was born at shyorongi in Rulindo District to Etienne Ngarambe and Theresa Twizeyimana. I am married with one child. I went to Rubingo Primary School Catholique and GSCIM Rwankuba where I completed Secondary education in 2010 and never continued to University level. At school, I played football and volleyball ball.


Q: Why didn’t you continue with your education yet there are many Universities in Rwanda?


A: My mother had struggled to raise the family and paid my education single-handedly after my dad had died. And, seeing the way she could do anything to raise school fees I decided to relieve her of that burden, and possibilities were high that she could not afford paying for university education. Besides, she is advanced in age and proceeding to University would be a toll on her life.


Q: Then, Isabelle how did you find yourself at Azam TV, yet you had only Secondary school education?  


A: For sure things were not easy and the grinding poverty with which my family lived as neighbours forced me into pondering every minute of my life over how I could make ends meet. As luck would have it, I recall one time when I was at home I got a contact of a gentleman who used to work from Kigali as an instructor of film production and owned a studio.

He told me to join him for basic training in video production. However, a bitter debate ensued at home as my elder brother saw leaving home to live in Kigali with stranger as a short-cut to self-destruction, fearing that I would be dragged into illicit activities like prostitution since being an adolescent I was vulnerable. He could not accept I spite of sincere explanation. Indeed, I longed to start a new lease of life beyond my home village.


Q: So, how did you finally leave home?


A: My mother intervened in the debate. She told him that my future was in my hands. And, if I wanted to be spoilt where I live would not matter. So, she convinced him to let me go to try my luck. When I met the gentleman he trained me through apprenticeship and would give assignments that made me get acquainted with the basics of the video camera. Unfortunately, after one month he closed shop.


The truth is I had never dreamt of doing the kind of job though I ended up “falling in love with it” the more I did it. He was supportive. My dream job, which I feel matches my talent is writing films and directing actors.  


Nonetheless, I don’t regret. Besides bringing food on the table, I am able to support my family, particularly my mum.   


Q: I can see your life at a crossroad. What happened next? How did you land for job at AZAM TV?


A: After a short while, I joined TV10 where I worked for two years using a much smaller and lighter camera than the AZAM’s. There was a job opportunity at AZAM TV, which I applied for and you know what? During the interview, a Tanzanian gentleman who was training shortlisted applicants insinuated that I was fit for the job. That’s how I joined the soccer world in 2016.


Q: Rwanda will join the rest of the world to mark the International Women’s Day on March8, what is your message to fellow women?  


A: I call on them to be confident, gather self-pity into action so as to exploit the potential in them. I remember, my first time at the camera was a litmus test. I was anxious and feared to faces the crowds at the stadium. My experience shows that every woman can work with success in any field. I now love my job and a few men can dare to do what I do. I make sure football fans see exciting moments at the stadium, particularly those within short distances like fans cheering players and so on. 

I encourage mothers to listen to their children and take time to exchange ideas. If my mother had not listened to me I cannot imagine the kind of life I would live. 


Q: You look healthy. What is your best dish?


A: I love chips and beef.


Q: The readers of The Light Magazine would wish to know your hobbies and favourite football club. Do you mind sharing with them?  


A: Sincerely, I am not a fan of any football club. I love watching films, playing music and swimming.   


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