Harnessing the Power of Social Media: Rwanda’s Top 5 Influential Individuals

The power of social media has transformed the way people connect, share, and influence the world. Rwanda has witnessed the rise of a new generation of youthful trailblazers who have harnessed the potential of social media. Presented below are the top five in no particular order.

Alexis Ngabo Karegeya – tourism

Often referred to as Ngabo or Ibere rya Bigogwe, Karegeya rose to prominence a few years ago when he leveraged social media to promote the ‘Visit Bigogwe’ project and brand.

His ‘clever’ marketing campaign drew in a diverse range of visitors, including international tourists, who flocked to the green hills of Bigogwe in rural Rwanda, Nyabihu District. They sought to immerse themselves in the region’s rich cattle culture, relish hiking, engage in milking, and partake in traditional games.

In February, Karegeya secured a landmark agreement with the government, which granted him access to land for enhancing his tourism endeavor in Nyabihu District, located in the Western Province.

The decision was made following a cabinet meeting presided over by President Paul Kagame on January 30, during which state-owned land in the private domain was allocated for investment to Karegeya’s company, Ibere rya Bigogwe Tourism Co.

He currently has over 82, 000 followers on Twitter and over 23,000 followers on Instagram.

Etienne 5k & Japhet Mazimpaka – comedy

The duo of Etienne Iryamukuru (Etienne 5k) and Japhet Mazimpaka rose to fame through their short videos, which quickly gained popularity on social media, thanks to their signature catchphrase ‘Bigomba Guhinduka.’

The phrase, loosely translating to “it ought to change,” humorously addresses well-known events in Rwandan society and presents comical alternatives to how things should be done.

The duo, which is a member of Daymakers Edutainment, pulled off a sold-out show by the same name, ‘Bigomba Guhinduka,’ at Kigali Cultural Village in April 2019. The success of the event spurred them to organise subsequent editions.

Their dedication and talent caught the attention of the public and the I Accelerator 5th phase, awarded them Rwf 10 million prize on December 16, 2022. The funding seeks to support their project focused on raising awareness and building capacity in the field of mental health.

Martin Safari – hair styling

With a keen eye for hair cutting styles and impeccable attention to detail, Martin Safari, commonly known as Safro Fades, has captured the attention of many through his creative skits.

In the skits, he employs a variety of tools, including hammers, knives, pliers, and more, to enact the process of cutting and styling his clients’ hair.

The 23-year-old mobile barber is paving the way to revolutionise how content creators present themselves to the world, breaking barriers and redefining the industry’s boundaries.

In May, Safari secured a ‘Barber Grammy’ for Content Creator of the Year 2023, becoming the first winner from Africa to receive this prestigious award. The event took place at the Mohegan Sun, a casino and resort in Connecticut, USA.

Currently, Safro Fades boasts 215,000 followers on Instagram, with a reel that has garnered over 91 million views.

Tito Kimenyi – comedy

Tito Kimenyi gained fame for his comedic sketches in which he skillfully impersonates a variety of characters, with a particular focus on students and teachers, especially mothers. His comedy skits mainly feature ‘accurate’ recounts of scenarios that take place in everyday life.

The recipient of ‘Rwanda’s Best TikToker 2022’ award, in an interview with The New Times, noted that he generates income through a range of activities on the platform.

Kimenyi’s entertaining journey commenced in 2021, and since then, he has steadily expanded his following to over 64,000 on TikTok and 56,000 on Instagram.

Didier Mugisha – dance and comedy

Didier Mugisha, also known as ‘General Benda,’ gained widespread acclaim for his engaging dance videos set to the latest song challenges. Additionally, he showcases his humorous talent by impersonating a rural woman in skits.

The 25-year-old first caught the public’s eye in 2020 when he ventured into the world of online entertainment. His content resonated with a number audiences, amassing a dedicated following of over 88,000 individuals on Tiktok and over 2.2 million likes, arguably one of the most followed dancers in Rwanda. His Instagram account is also thriving, with over 86,000 followers.

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