The changing face of Rwandan ‘bouncers’

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Security is a priority for every individual especially when it comes to large crowds. While revelers at a concert or nightclub are having their excitement, it is a bouncer’s job to maintain their safety.

Sometimes that means not allowing people who are too drunk in or escorting them out if they are causing problems.

Previously bodyguards, bouncers, or crowd controllers worked individually, however that changed in 2010 when Bosco Kanimba, a bouncer decided to go professional in his work, teaming up with other professional bouncers to form one organization.

He shared the idea with fellow bouncers in a similar situation, and the result was the now popular B-KGL (Kigali Bodyguard Ltd) a company that provides bouncer, bodyguard and protocol services to private events organizers. 

As chairman of the group, he began with a team of four bouncers that was in charge of security for artists and judges at the annual Primus Guma Guma Super Star (PGGSS) road shows and the number has since risen to 30 members, 26 men and 4 women.

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“The main objective of creating this company was to organize the activities of bouncers in night clubs, bars, weddings, and big events by working together and promoting bouncers with intellectual capacity building and a common vision.

This was a solution in creating jobs for and securing our country as youth using our physical body and intellectual capacity,” Elie Pathos Nshimiyimana, the general secretary of B-KGL explains.

The company is hired by several bars and nightclubs around Kigali, as well as private companies like Airtel and Bralirwa.

At the end of last year, another company, Corhaven was carved out of B-KGL, to better manage themselves and began its operations at the ‘New Year Countdown’ with guarding artistes Yemi Alade and Sauti Sol.

Olivier Kanda is a professional bouncer with Corhaven and says that the company charges according to the number of hours on duty which is mostly six hours, making it Rwf30,000 per bodyguard.

“Sometimes when BKGL gets a gig that requires more bouncers than they have, we work together. We have also worked with the Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) and many other companies and events,” he says.

To be a member of these Associations, bouncers are only required to have a clean criminal background check, have a diploma in any field of study, high level of discipline, mental stability and aged 21-40 years of age.

Why women in the profession remain few

Kanda stresses that even with the simple requirements women have been hesitant to join.

“The reason we don’t have enough females is that Rwandan women have not yet taken up bouncing as a job. When we have big events that require female bodyguards to check women that is when they are needed the most although most of the times men handle this job.

1520098554A-female-bouncer-on-duty

We usually follow how bodyguards in other countries go about their work because an international artiste like Runtown cannot be guarded by a female body guard.

Our work requires man power, protecting our clients from the distraction of large crowds of people, which cannot be handled by most women, which is understandable why women cannot take up this kind job,” he says.

Ariellah Diane Umuhoza, one of the few female bodyguards reveals that the although the profession is a male dominated field, it didn’t discourage her from being among the few women in the profession.

“People perceive me as someone who takes a big part in securing their lives or events. That’s enough to keep me motivated but women are hesitant to join this profession because they think it’s only for men and have not been sensitized on their ability to keep order and security. All they need is proper training,” she says.

 

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