Inzozi Nziza - continued..

June 08, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

Blogging about Rwanda has turned into this incredibly difficult task and I'm not quite sure why..  I could venture to guess, but really what's the point of musing about the root cause, it only delays me further from actually sitting down and just writing!  I'm so grossly delinquent in sharing the full story with you all that it's incredibly embarrassing, but better late than never, so here goes...

When we last left off, I had just arrived in Butare with a distinct vision of the portraits I had wanted to create at Inzozi Nziza, only to find that that particular vision didn't actually exist. When I first learned of the shop, I immediately envisioned Chadians eating ice cream, because that was my only first-hand visual reference of Africa. But Chadians are not Rwandans, and Butare was certainly not N'Djamena. Butare is a thriving University town, the intellectual capital of Rwanda. The patrons of Inzozi Nziza were primarily students; plugged into global trends much like any other western university student. I had to recalibrate my thinking and after completing the images for Gestalten Publishing's EAT EAT, I spent a couple of days soaking it all in. I started recording interesting sights and sounds, talking to EVERYONE, going to their homes, learning Kinyarwandan (poorly,) and writing a ton trying to pick out a thread and discover what the story was, what my purpose there was.  Then I began shooting- portraits of patrons, portraits of the amazing women who worked at Inzozi Nziza and their families at home, portraits of the women drummers who the shop was started for....  by the end of day 6, I was sitting on a mountain of images, with a novel full of stories swimming through my head...


Virgile, a Literature major who also performs in the University's traditional dance troupe.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The women at Inzozi Nziza make up an impromptu theme song for the shop.


At home with Inzozi Nziza's assistant manager, Marie Louise- a young single mother who lives nearby with her brother and his wife and daughters (pictured right)


Kid's Day at Inzozi Nziza gave free ice cream to nearly 30 local children with donations made by staff and patrons.


These local girls brought all of their siblings to the ice cream shop early for Kid's Day and waited on the front steps for the doors to open.
 



This young girl recognizes some of the women in the wall photo of the women's drumming circle that cooperatively runs and owns Inzozi Nziza.

 

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