Rwanda: Makanyaga Celebrates 50 Years of Music

In a highly anticipated and vibrant event, renowned ‘Karahanyuze’ musician Abdoul Makanyaga on Tuesday, July 4, celebrated an impressive milestone in his illustrious career–50 years of dedicated contribution to the country’s music scene.

The jubilee celebration took place at Romantic Garden, Gisozi, packed with local music pioneers, diehard fans, marking a momentous occasion to honor the 75-year old man’s undeniable influence on Rwandan music and his status as the cherished icon of the nation’s musical heritage.

The concert featured an array of performances by renowned musicians, both old and new, who shared the stage to honor his incredible legacy. Among the headliners entertained the local music melophiles were Sudi Mavenge, Augustine Ngabonziza, Pascal Bushaija, Mariya Yohana-the 80-year-old icon of Rwandan music, who proved that she is still an idol, Christopher Muneza and later Man of the day Makanyaga.

During the event, the singer was presented with a gift from Mavenge’s family acknowledging him as a backbone to Mavenge’s successful music journey. Equally, there was cake sharing with fans recognising his long music career.

Speaking to the media, he reflected on his remarkable career and expressed deep gratitude for the support and love he has received from his fans at the event and throughout the years.

“God has played a significant role in keeping me on the right path, so I attribute my clean and drug-free lifestyle to my strong spiritual beliefs.

Self-discipline in everything you do, if you want to be loved- love, if you want to be honored -honor and if you want to be recognized, do the same,” he said.

Additionally, he discussed the importance of preserving Rwandan musical traditions and nurturing young talent to ensure the future prosperity of the industry.

“For example, I did a one-on-one serious mentorship with the iconic Sudi Mavenge who was the young aspiring guitarist then. I would sometimes slap him, whenever he made unnecessary mistakes, this was to remind him to make a positive choice,” he said.

Born and raised in Huye District, his journey in music began in early 1967, when he picked up the guitar as a young aspiring artist, he wanted to follow his idol Antoine Wendo Kolosoy’s footsteps. He studied music at Centre de Formation de Music in Nyamirambo before embarking on a singing career at the age of 20.

Back then, the music industry was still nascent, and the country was experiencing the challenges of post-independence development. Nevertheless, Makanyaga persevered, embracing his passion for music as a means to uplift spirits and capture the essence of Rwandan local music.