Hi, my name is Cynthia Butare.
I am a documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Kigali, Rwanda.
My first attempt at documentary filmmaking was in 2012, while I was studying in the UK, with KICKIN’ IT WITH THE KINKS. Made with my friend Mundia Situmbeko, the film tackles natural hair amongst black women and on the harmful effects of chemically straightening. The sneak peeks were propelled by Internet users who wanted to see it. Then they were relayed by influencers, which created word of mouth, which allowed the film to go through a series of screenings for the following two years in the UK, US, Canada, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Nigeria, Zambia, Namibia and Rwanda.
In 2013, I made Ishimwa: from Bloodshed to Grace, which reveals one remarkable man's struggle to overcome his past as a genocide survivor. The film, delivered in his own words, shares how he survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and become involved with gangs in London. He eventually goes on to join a ballet school.
Relocating to my country of heritage, Rwanda in 2014, meant getting the opportunity to truly understand this place, its resonance for Rwandans, and also my place in it. From then on, photography appeared to me as a more suitable creative expression to be able to explore over time the daily novelty that was offered to me.
In 2022, I had my first exhibition called Moulding Hands, which took part in a collective photo exhibition curated by the cultural entrepreneur Nelson Niyakire. This photo exhibition is a vivid display of the moulding of Rwandan heritage through the toil of bare hands.
As I dabble in many areas, this is an outlet for me truly rooted in my purpose, as elusive and eternal as it is. Hence this space is an intermingling of all of my interests into one fully-fledged portal. It is a scrapbook to externalise my thoughts, mould my opinions and express what I stand for and value. That being so, I write, I share my daily life and my pictures, to not only engage but also intrigue, challenge, and arouse your curiosity about Rwanda, its culture, and its landscapes, in order to develop my sense of observation, to sharpen my creative sensibilities, feed my thoughts, discover the unknown, and above all… exchange with you!
November 2019 - present
Rwanda Development Board
August 2016 - present
July 2015 - July 2016
Illume Creative Studio
in-house content creator
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is the one-stop agency focusing on attracting, retaining and facilitating investment in the national economy. As an analyst in the comms division, my role is to:
• organize and coordinate photo and video shoots;
• supervise the development of training content for communication staff
• work closely with communication staff from pre-production to post-production;
• formulate narrative structure in pre-production;
• coordinate work allowing cohesive teamwork for all parties involved throughout all stages of visual content projects;
• develop monitoring and evaluation mechanism;
• provide strategic support to communication staff recruitment;
• coordinate media engagement plans;
• work with RDB to produce content and information;
• supervise the uploading of materials;
• assess the impact of RDB online content;
• review RDB communication impact in coordination with MDAs;
• monitor implementation of RDB communications campaigns;
• analyze media reports and advise accordingly;
• prepare TOR for communication related activities.
Icyerekezo or Kezo Comms was founded to offer B2B services with the understanding of the value of creative, professionally-produced content, especially in the current digital age. However, to achieve rich content, it is crucial to carry out sufficient groundwork consisting of audits, strategy and content development, hence why Kezo Comms assists businesses to craft content that converts audiences into customers. Kezo Comms stands for effective content that is strategized, targeted and aligned with a brand's goals.
As a visual content producer my role is to:
• Create campaign concepts, organizes and coordinates photo and video shoots, while working closely with clients to streamline campaign strategies to fit their brands;
• Work closely with clients from pre-production to post-production and distribution;
• Conduct audits to identify businesses' most marketable assets and provide recommendations on how to improve their online presence;
• Write and put together concept notes allowing cohesive teamwork for all parties involved throughout all the stages of the project;
• Strategize client content to match buyers' journey;
• Translate client business needs into visual concepts that communicate a brand's story;
• Work closely with clients to ensure all requirements are implemented;
• Organize and coordinate photo and video shoots;
• Formulate narrative structure during post-production.
Hired as an in-house content creator, my duties include:
• Creating original content for Illume original content and for corporate clients such as Entreprenarium, Same Skye, the Mastercard Foundation and The Africa Channel
• Crafting punchy content that communicates corporate clients’ core objectives in an easy-to-follow format;
• Communicating and sharing with management to receive feedback;
• Supporting management throughout the execution of campaigns for clients;
• Ensuring all content produced meets the needs, requirements and brand values;
• Taking initiative to propose new ideas/approaches;
• Giving input to creative meetings and sharing ideas;
• Pitching creative ideas to management.