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How Paul Kagame met his wife Jeannette in Nairobi

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has opened up on meeting his wife in Kenya.

Addressing an audience at the ultra-modern basketball court, the Rwandan President gave the example of how meeting his wife in the Kenyan capital has enhanced regional integration.

“I was born here (Rwanda), I grew up in Uganda, my wife was born in Burundi, we met in Kenya and we are here. So, Africans that’s who we are. We are brothers, we are sisters,” he said, amid cheers from the crowd.

Though he did not share the details of their meeting, Nairobi News understands the couple met in Nairobi in 1989.

At the time, Jeannette Nyiramongi Kagame, who was once a Tutsi exile residing in Nairobi,  caught the attention of a youthful Paul Kagame when he was seeking matrimonial suggestions from his family.

Upon their recommendation, Kagame journeyed to Nairobi to meet Jeannette and convinced her to visit him in Uganda.

Familiar with the objectives of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its mission to repatriate Rwandan refugees, Jeannette had immense respect for Kagame. Today, the pair are proud parents to four children.

Kagame can speak three languages, English, Kinyarwanda, and French.

After ascending to the First Lady’s office in 2000, Ms Jeannette has used her position to advocate for various causes, especially those that concern the development and empowerment of Rwandans.

She founded the Imbuto Foundation in 2001, an organization that is dedicated to supporting and empowering vulnerable populations in Rwanda.

The foundation’s activities range from education scholarships for the best-performing girls in schools to efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, and community development projects. Under Imbuto, First Lady Jeannette has made significant efforts to engage with the youth, nurturing them to be the leaders of tomorrow.

She has also represented Rwanda on the international stage, attending conferences and forums where she has spoken about Rwanda’s post-genocide recovery and the essential roles of women and youth in the country’s rebirth. This representation has also seen her collaborate with other African first ladies to champion various causes on the continent. These collaborations often focus on health, education, and women’s empowerment.

Also read: Grace Msalame shares pain of father’s absence, partner’s ‘heartbreaking’ diagnosis.