Picture an aerial shot of Kigali's rolling green hills after the genocide, panning down to a dirt road covered in a layer of orange dust. An adolescent boy takes a passenger on his motorcycle and collects the fare. Down the road, another boy sells grilled corn from a curbside stool. A girl hawks telephone airtime to passersby. A young man carries a bundle of chickens who seem passively resigned to their fate. Another boy hoists a cardboard box aloft, packed full of tissues and sweets for sale.Visit Catherine Honeyman's website.
Pocketing their earnings, these young Rwandans set off to buy pens and notebooks, pay school fees, and shrug on their uniforms, joining thousands of other Rwandan schoolchildren on the trek to school.
Flash forward and we see government offices where new policies are being discussed, plans to create a generation of more entrepreneurial Rwandan youth. Curriculum developers debate the definitions students will need to memorize, the regulations they will need to master, in a new Rwanda with a progressive vision of orderly development. A Rwanda in which the street-side lemonade stand wouldn’t be an iconic image of youthful business initiative—it would be disorderly conduct, plain and simple.
So begins The Orderly Entrepreneur when I imagine it as a movie, following these young people through their efforts to earn school fees so they can get a better job one day, and following policy-makers and teachers through their efforts to teach a well-regulated form of self-reliance.
I would cast the whole team from Africa United—that ingenious little film about a journey to see the World Cup—to tell this story. Roger Nsengiyumva, Eriya Ndayambaje, Sherrie Silver, Sanyu Joanita Kintu, and Yves Dusenge would be perfect for portraying Rwanda’s ordinary and extraordinary young people who don’t go to school to learn entrepreneurship—they are entrepreneurs just in order to go to school.