Humans of Kigali: Yann, Donnie and Nima

Yann and Sidonnie ‘Donnie’ Gwet are originally from Cameroon. They just moved to Rwanda two weeks ago with their two children.

Nima Yussuf is originally from Djibouti, she lived in Paris and London. She was working at Goldman Sachs in London then moved to Rwanda just under three years ago. She is employed by a Rwandan company in Financing. Nima moved here because Rwanda offers her more opportunities than London or Paris, but also because she feels at home and she can thrive humanly.

Yann and Donnie are a bit different. They are not employed by Rwandan companies, Yann is a journalist for Le Monde, a newspaper based in France and Donnie works for a financing multinational.

Yann moved his family to Kigali because as a journalist writing on African politics he wants to be part of the African story that is being written here. In his own word, ‘looking at Africa from Rwanda’s vintage point makes me optimistic. Suddenly what seemed impossible from Douala, Dakar, Abidjan, Brazzaville, etc., looks feasible. All that seemed unreachable seems clear to me. I understand in details where this country is coming from and where it is going; also, deciding to live somewhere (beyond sharing the destiny of a people) in an African country in which one believes, isn’t that the best embodiment of Pan Africanism?’


Yann moved to Rwanda for ideological reasons. Many of us talk about Pan-Africanism, patriotism, but it takes passion to live it. Yann took a leap of faith. He is a talented writer and was offered by his employer to stay in Paris. He also had options of staying anywhere on the planet; he chose Rwanda.

It would have been easier if he were single, on an adventure. He has a wife and two children.

This, in a way, puts pressure on us Rwandans. We have to deliver for Yann, his wife Donnie and their two children. We have to deliver for Nima. But I think we will, because, now that they are here, we just got stronger with three passionate and brilliant minds. Now that they are here also, they connect us to brothers and sisters from Djibouti and Cameroon.

Yann, Donnie and Nima are a constant reminder, that something special is happening on this continent. I look at them and I think to myself; for the many things Rwanda might be getting wrong, we are doing something right…

Their elder daughter Adna started nursery school at Green Hills last week. She has a new friend. His name is Bahizi…


One comment

  1. …from Rwanda’s vantage point makes me optimistic.

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