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Betty Mukamulisa

Portrait photos of Betty Mukamulisa
© Chris Schwagga for Goethe-Institut Kigali

Betty Mukamulisa, a young mother who lives singing.

When one asks Betty to say what comes to her mind at the evocation of the word family, she answers without hesitating and separating the concept from what it contains of sense and emotion.

Who says family speaks of parents and their children, whether it is where you were children or where you have your children, the family comprises of a mother, a father and their children. Children are something very attractive. They attract the parents, and not the other way round. For me, this is fundamental. For instance, when I think of my children, I feel it everywhere in my body, like heat and shivers at the same time. My life is first and foremost my children.

I grew up in a poor family, a family that was at the very bottom, socially speaking. I could have died of complexes, become discouraged, never believe in myself, but my mother’s love gave me confidence. She could tell me that I wasn’t really beautiful physically, but she could tell me right away that I have a very good heart, and that’s much more important. She sang it while covering me with affection and it made me understand how the love of the family for its young child was stronger than anything else. The love I received from my mother is the basis of my equilibrium, and everything I manage to do in my life as an adult and as a mother.

In the family I founded, I’m the closest to the children. Their father is there too, but less in giving love to the children. I do everything I can to pamper them, as far as our means allow. I open up horizons that would not be reasonably accessible to them, that is, I agree to spend money to buy fashionable clothes, I take them to play areas or restaurants. I want them to have access to things that were inaccessible to me when I was a child.

Religion is not absent here but it doesn’t count as much as music. I sing a lot and I’ll like my children to learn to sing. As I’m close to children, I tend to make a lot of decisions at home. I talk about it with my husband, but generally, he agrees with me when I explain it to him. His work often takes him away from home. I manage the daily life of our family, and I try to instil confidence in the children, that they grow up feeling legitimate in their country, and wherever they are called to live. I often talk to them about how lucky I’m to be in circles which, if I had not believed in myself, would naturally have been forbidden to me!

Last but not least, I didn’t have the chance to study. I want my children to study, it’s a subject on which I’m becoming hard and demanding. I don’t let anything go by. I often call on my husband to support me in this area. We want our children to succeed in their studies. We push them to dream far and high. Not being able to study has had a negative impact on our lives. We are afraid for our children, and we want another life for them.