September 23, 2017
Ask students about Ifashabayo Dejoie ’19, and nine times out of ten, they will share that he is a proud Rwandan. So much so, that Ifashabayo dedicated his summer break to launching a social impact project back home.
Teaming up with a fellow Rwandan from Rochester University, Murekezi Derrick, Ifashabayo established the True Legacy Initiative, a platform to celebrate individuals who have provided leadership for Rwanda. For the inaugural event, they honored the late Anonciata Mutamuliza, whose stage name was Kamaliza. Kamaliza was a music icon whose songs portrayed a positive future for Rwanda and helped boost morale nationwide. Kamaliza also founded an orphanage for children who lost their parents in the genocide.
“The idea for this event came out of lessons from some of the courses in African thought and leadership, which I was taking,” says Ifashabayo. “From such classes, I came to appreciate the roots of African bravery, the essence of serving the community and living a life of purpose. These courses stimulated my passion to work towards contributing to progress in my country.”
The event brought together leading Rwandan artists and local students to celebrate the spirit of Kamaliza and raise funds for her orphanage.
“As an artist, Kamaliza used her music to communicate the message that Rwanda needed at a time when there was little to hope for. Kamaliza herself participated in the war as a soldier with the rank of Sergeant. After the struggle, she organized free concerts for survivors to comfort them.”
“We wanted to show that giving is not meant only for the wealthy. In our capacity as students, we decided to set an example to inspire our colleagues. For us, we achieved this 100%. Moving forward, we want to keep making a change. Our hope is that many young Africans will see this as a great way to celebrate their country’s legacy and do same in their countries as well. Every society has had great leaders who stepped forward at some point, and there is a need for them to be recognized whether they are alive or not.”
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