As many young boys across the world, Patient Bizimana cherished the dream of becoming an international footballer while growing up in Gisenyi. However, though it turned out to be an idle fantasy, he has something to boast about- he is among the most celebrated gospel music icons in Rwanda.
“I loved music as a child but my dream was not to be a musician. I wanted to be a famous footballer,” says the ‘Menye Neza’ singer who is today one of the artistes at the pinnacle of the gospel music industry in Rwanda.
Bizimana started his professional music career when he recorded his first song ‘Andyohera cyane’ which came out in 2008. He has since then produced many songs including Ubwo ubuntu, Mutima wangye, Menye Neza among others that have rocked gospel lovers countrywide.
Before professional music, he worked as a worship leader in Evangelical Restoration church Masoro from where was motivated to go professional having realized he had the talent and the passion to serve God through music.
Patient Bizimana had his early education at EPGI where he had his elementary and primary education in Gisenyi. He enrolled at ESTB Busogo for his O’level secondary Education after which he joined St. Fidele for A’level.
He moved to ULK Gisozi from where he graduated with a bachelors’ degree in Economics and Business Studies.
He has since achieved a lot including winning the MTN caller tune award, as well as organising massively attended Easter celebration concerts.
Choosing music over football
As time went by, Bizimana gave up on his football dreams. He says he decided to concentrate on music since he realized how good he was at it and also the immense opportunity it provided for him to serve his creator,
“First of all, I felt I had the talent. Then, I also had the passion for serving God. This pushed me further into music.” He says.
In addition, he says his family went on to fall in love with his new idea to take on music which ignited his feelings for it. They rallied behind him to give him the support he needed to go forward,
“My family was very supportive to me in music and in everything. They are my destiny connectors,” he says.
He also connects his love for music with inspirational people in Rwanda and abroad whom he looks up to. He says he was greatly inspired by fellow Rwandan gospel singer Aime Uwimana whom he describes as “God fearing and a man of character.” Australian worship music maestro Darlene Zchech, British worship leader Micheal W. Smith and American gospel music legend Don Moen are other inspirations for him in the industry.
About gospel music in Rwanda:
He says gospel music is not done with a primary aim of making money. It is rather motivated by one’s love for God and rooted from deep salvation and faith,
“You cannot be business minded in gospel music. If your goal is money, you can’t be sustained in the industry.”
According to him, there are many challenges associated with gospel music in the country which would scare away anyone who lacks determination. First, he says there are no such big financial harvests as compared to secular music, a factor that has seen many artistes flee the industry.
The challenge of financial inadequacy among gospel singers according to him has made some of them to produce substandard audios and videos which can’t even be played on airwaves in the country.
He however says this challenge can be overcome if investors take faith in gospel music and start sponsoring the artistes in organising concerts, song production among others. Besides, he says the gospel artistes themselves should come up with an umbrella union which will help them to fight for their goals as one family.