Veteran singer Sudi Mavenge admits his hit songs were not originally his, apologizes to fans – KT PRESS
He is one of the famous veteran musicians in Rwanda, but many did not know that the songs that Sudi Mavenge made were not originally his own.
Mavenge admitted that the songs he sings are not his own but that they were composed by Gaetan Kayitare, an artist killed in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Appearing on KT RadioOn the daily ‘Impamba y’Umunsi’ broadcast on August 3, Mavenge admitted that he had not given enough credit for the songs to Kayitare, who was his close friend, and apologized for it. Mavenge Sudi became very popular due to the songs that many believed to be his original compositions.
Mavenge Sudi, best known for songs like “Gakoni k’Abakobwa”, “Ku Munini” and others, said he met Kayitare Gaetan in 1986 in the present-day district of Ruhango where he lived and that they are become friends.
Mavenge said he left Kigali with a young man identified only as Mugabo, to go to Nyanza, where they spent three days en route to Karama to check on a young man he named Muhirwa, who played music. guitar and worked with Kayitare Gaetan.
When they got there, they found out that Muhirwa didn’t have a guitar and instead referred them to Kayitare. They continued to Kigoma (now Ruhango) to meet Kayitare Gaetan.
“When we got there he told Kayitare about my love for the guitar and he was happy to give me one. He was surprised and amazed at the way I played the guitar with my left hand. “,
“As I played guitar, I also sang for him and he was happy. From that point on, we became friends, ”recalls Mavenge.
Kayitare sang his first song “Ikigabiro”, which Mavenge remade and from there Kayitare took Mavenge to Gisenyi to participate in a music competition. They became friends along the way.
They then lived together in a house that Kayitare rented and had a tailoring workshop where he sewed clothes for women and girls in present-day Southern Province.
Mavenge says he continued to live with Kayitare in Kigoma and as he (Kayitare) was doing well, he started sending him to Kigali to buy him tapes on which he would put his songs and sell them.
“He would send me to buy cassettes or radio cassettes that I bought in a store called Audiotex, near Chez Venant. He would record songs and sell them to friends and family for extra income, ”he said.
As fate would have it, Kayitare was imprisoned and Mavenge would visit him in detention. He continued to produce music from prison with the help of Mavenge. It was around this time that Mavenge continued to sing some of his songs to keep him in people’s memory.
This time he was telling people that indeed the songs were for Kayitare and that he was only helping to sell the tapes. He even mentioned it in media interviews.
Unfortunately, when the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi broke out, Kayitare was killed. Mavenge resolved to keep remaking his songs to keep his memory alive.
“His humility, his kindness, his friendship, the conversations we had and the bond we shared, made me decide to continue his legacy when we lost him in the genocide against the Tutsis”,
“I watched how people liked him and thought I should do whatever I could to keep his songs alive because they all had positive messages that people needed to hear. “says Mavenge, adding that he regrets never having explicitly mentioned it to his friends or fans that the songs were not his original compositions.
Mavenge Sudi also had the opportunity to apologize for pretending to be a non-artist.
“I’m so sorry, I should have told my fans and friends about it. I say it now and will always say it again that the songs belong to my friend Kayitare Gaetan, with whom we have shared a lot of history as friends, ”he said in an interview with Benjamin Bisangwa Nganji on KT Radio.
He also revealed that he never allowed any other artist to remake Kayitare’s songs because he personalized them, adding that he was looking to discuss with surviving members of Kayitare’s family the fate of the songs.
Kayitare’s family speaks out
Michel Shumbusho Michel, a representative of Kayitare’s family, thanked Mavenge for having the audacity to admit and apologize, but said he could not accept the apology individually as the family is also still shocked that the songs were poorly redone.
“I told him when we met in Biryogo that as a family we weren’t happy with his renditions of the songs compared to the original compositions, but I’m glad he came to apologize,”
“We recognize the apologies, but this is not the end of the problem as there are other issues related to copyright infringement. Even if someone was your friend, you have no right to their intellectual property, even if that friend asked you to do so, ”said Shumbusho.
Shumbusho further said Mavenge should have spoken with the family as not all of them are dead. Kayitare’s family has three surviving members.
He said the family would come together to discuss the matter and consider his apology, but nevertheless thanked him for admitting that the songs that made him popular were not originally his own.
KT Radio presenter Benjami Nganji Bisangwa contributed to this report