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Friday, 8 August 2014

Rwanda's Akaliza Keza Gara On Her Passion To Tell African Stories Using ICT

Meet Rwanda's Akaliza Keza Gara, the 27 year old founder and managing director of Shaking Sun, a multimedia business specialising in website development, graphic design and computer animation. The Rwandan entrepreneur is also very passionate about using technology to tell African stories. Gara considers her main achievement as being part of a team of animators who worked on African Tales, the first ever cartoon series produced in Rwanda.

"Seeing my name in the credits of the cartoon series was a big moment for me and I am so thankful I had that opportunity," she said. Her long-time dream has been to create animated features that target African children, which is why a big part of her company is focused on graphic design and animation. Gara argues that African children need characters and settings that they can relate to, as well as stories that can entertain and inspire them. “As a child there were hardly any cartoons that were representative of my culture and I want to be part of changing that for the children growing up today,” she adds.

She feels that by giving children stories that make sense in their context, they will be more inspired to achieve, and will also have local role models to look up to. This is not only true for the Rwandan context but for Africa as a whole. Gara has just finished her first cartoon educational series for children using local Rwandan animators and hopes to produce more content for African children in the near future.



Gara actively encourages girls to pursue careers in ICT and shares key insights with emerging tech entrepreneurs in Africa. She also mentors young girls in ICT at kLab and Girls in ICT Rwanda, where she serves as a female role model for young women in tech. “Many women do use technology, but we also need to be more involved in its development,” she argues. She was awarded as the Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur in ICT by the Rwanda Ministry of Youth and ICT in 2012.

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