How Tenkhi drew inspiration from President Kagame to document Rwanda’s resilience

On 4 May 2021 at 01:04

In March 2019, Algeria plunged into a political turmoil that saw nationals organizing pro-democracy protests , known as “Hirak” or “Revolution of Smiles”, against the Algerian regime of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who had held office since 1999.

The veteran leader had been weakened after suffering a stroke in 2013, which diminished his mobility and forced him to work from his residence in Zeralda, west of the capital Algiers.

He had since travelled abroad several times to undergo medical treatment in France and Switzerland.

During his tenure, he used to make rare public appearances, during which he was usually seen sitting in a wheelchair.

Rumours often swirled in Algeria about the state of the president’s health. In 2019, he was 82-year old when he announced plans to run another term despite his health condition that sparked protests.

Melissa Tenkhi, is an Algerian who grew up in France but currently living in Dubai since seven years ago. She followed the revolutionary protests from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Tenkhi is a patriotic Algerian even though she has spent many years in foreign countries. Her love for the nation pushed her to abandon work at a company she worked for in Dubai to join Algerians during revolutionary riots.

Considering efforts of the youth to bring political transformations in Algeria, Melissa Tenkhi came up with an idea to produce a video documentary showing youth’s potential to bring positive transformations.

Melissa Tenkhi reflected on what was happening in her mother country and produced two episodes of video documentaries on the situation.

She released the first two parts on YouTube in December 2019 showing youth’s aspirations on the future of their country.

During her first documentary, Tenkhi shows the youth talking about the revolution needed in Algeria to drive the country into a new political agenda.

The second documentary released in February 2020 features different artistes in Algeria talking about their contribution to the society relating it to what happened in their country during the revolutionary period.

Melissa Tenkhi believes that no one is in a better position to narrate another person’s experience highlighting that Africa doesn’t need BBC and other media houses telling Africa’s narratives.

This prompted her to tell Africa’s narratives starting with her country.

Using her stories on a platform dubbed ‘BESMA’ Arabic word translated as ‘Laugh’, Tenkhi toured different African countries to depict different realities.

She visited Ivory Coast where she produced two documentaries, an addition to one produced on Rwanda dubbed “Agaciro: The Rwandan spirit”.

His love for the land of Thousand Hills

Tenkhi was inspired by Rwanda’s fast progress after overcoming the dark past and its resilience under the visionary leadership of President Paul Kagame to produce a documentary on the country.

Speaking to IGIHE, Tenkhi said that she conceived an idea to visit Rwanda inspired by Rwandans spirit to strive for ‘dignity’ (Agaciro) and the leadership of President Kagame.

“I am impressed by Rwanda’s leadership and I am a big fan of President Kagame for many years. Rwanda’s reputation and Rwanda’s value of dignity are among other things which prompted me to make a documentary about Rwanda,” she said.

Tenkhi said Agaciro is a great concept that needs to be emulated to the entire African continent.

She described President Kagame as a hero having rebuilt the country from ashes which makes him a reputed person on African continent.

Tenkhi said that Rwandans’ heroism, unity and reconciliation gives her hope for a bright Africa’s tomorrow.

Usually, visitors coming to Rwanda are interested to learn how the country stopped the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi and its fast development.

This is what inspired Tenkhi to produce the documentary “Agaciro: The Rwandan spirit”.

The documentary features people of different age brackets including those who were still young and others born after Genocide. They reflected on a brief history of the country and future aspirations.

Hope Azeda Kigaragaramo, the founder of Mashirika; singer Ariel Wayz, Sonia Mugabo fashion designer, Ivan Mugemanyi, a photographer & Makeup artist, the CEO of AC Group, Patrick Buchana; Aphrodice Mutangana of Digital Africa; Faith Keza, the CEO of Irembo and Raoul Rugamba , the founder of Africa in Colors.

Faith Keza said that Rwanda is registering fast development because of ambitions to build a unique identity.

“Rwanda strives to build a unique identity. The Government works hard to achieve its ambitions which give optimism that a lot of things will be done in the near future,” she said.

Female artiste, Ariel Wayz said that all the country’s achievements are fruits of unity.

Aphrodice Mutangana, the Chief Operations Officer of Digital Africa also highlighted that Rwanda’s unique aspect relies on consolidating efforts for common goals.

“ What they are doing is to have a strong ecosystem to have all players working together. When you have the Government putting in place all policies, academies producing talents , investors , well-structured private sector and donors associating with what you are doing everything goes smoothly. This is what Rwanda is doing and becoming the land of opportunity,” he noted.

Raoul Rugamba explained that Rwanda is a composition of a lot of things mainly drawing inspiration from good leadership and assured his contribution to make Rwanda a great country.

Hope Azeda observed that Rwanda’s past should leave a lesson that much attention should be drawn to strive for a better future instead of sinking into past horrors considering Rwanda’s experience.

After releasing his documentary, Ranjit Menon got inspiration and expressed willingness to visit Rwanda.

Melissa Tenkhi worked with Samuel Ishimwe in producing the documentary on Rwanda.

Melissa Tenkhi enjoyed the beauty of the Country of Thousand Hills.
Melissa Tenkhi is a big fan of President Paul Kagame.
Considering efforts of the youth to bring political transformations in Algeria, Melissa Tenkhi came up with an idea to produce a video documentary showing youth’s potential to bring positive transformations.