Louisa Esther Mugabo
Multilingual aspiring journalist & academic
Conflict, War & Peace Reporting
I am a young journalist, feminist, activist & still learning. About raising awareness & being aware of myself and my own privileges & using them right; about the importance & use of right wording; about critical perspectives of myself & systems.
Thank you for helping me & pointing out when I am off track. It’s a process together.
Follow me on Twitter!
Regional focus: Great Lakes Region in Africa (mainly DR Congo, Burundi & Rwanda)
Fav’ topics: Conflict transformation & peace development, the role of the media in conflict & peace, daily life in local contexts, environment stories & conservation
Interested in: Conflict, peace & exile journalism, media development
Fascinated by: Humanity, nature & languages
In love with: My husband, our dog, colours, coffee, books & Rwandan basketball development
Currently based in: the Black Forest (Germany)
Born & raised, sometimes back in: the Black Forest (Germany)
Lived, studied, worked in: Brittany (France), Kigali (Rwanda), Leipzig (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Goma (DR Congo), Aarhus (Denmark), Swanse (Wales, UK)
September 2018 – July 2020
Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree in Journalism, Media & Globalization (M.A.)
Specialization: Conflict & War Reporting
Dissertation: Burundian Exile Journalism in Rwanda
Year 1: Aarhus University & Danish School of Media and Journalism
Year 2: Swansea University
October 2015 – August 2018
African Studies (B.A.)
Thesis: Journalists in North-Kivu: Between journalism, activism and development aid.
October 2014 – August 2017
Political Science (B.A.)
Thesis: Institutionalization of the post-genocide nation: comparison of selected political strategies in Germany and Rwanda.
Leipzig University & Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Since the beginning of my undergraduate studies, I have been a scholar of Cusanuswerk, the German Episcopal Academic Foundation for gifted students.
I am fluent in German (mother tongue), English, French and Spanish.
I am able to have a conversation in Kinyarwanda, and can survive in Hausa and Swahili.
Journalism – Selected work experience
Podcasting in Denmark
During the first year of my M.A. studies, I was editor in chief of the podcast Slow News, a programme within the Mundus Journalism students’ radio Planet Mundus. Besides taking over organizational and editorial tasks, I was an active contributor to the podcast with a focus on forgotten crises. Also, I was in charge of the Planet Mundus twitter handle.
Freelancing in Germany
Living in the Black Forest, I was a freelancer with the local daily Schwarzwälder Bote. Additionally, my articles have been published by different local dailies and magazines (NRWZ, LVZ, kreuzer). I worked as an editor with JournAfrica!-magazine and wrote some pieces for German media outlets focusing on Africa.
Journalism in the Great Lakes
I started my journalistic career within the very special Rwandan media context, interning with and later on freelancing for The New Times.
In 2017, I worked with local journalists in the war-branded Province North-Kivu, DR Congo, doing an internship and research stay with CORACON.
In January 2020, I concluded a research stay with the Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ), researching implications of exile on journalistic practices.
Project management, administration, activism & communications
Before starting my Master’s, I was an intern with the regional bureau in Stuttgart of the green political foundation, Heinrich Böll Stiftung BW, realizing my own project: a conference (workshop + public debate) on the forgotten crisis in Burundi & the role of the media, also tackling African images represented in German journalism (more info in German).
I was the founder and Executive Director of a non-profit & non-governmental Rwandan organization working for and with PWD in a wheelchair. We have introduced wheelchair basketball in the country and did raise awareness about barrier freedom in public spaces and mindsets to contribute to a more inclusive society.
In the political field, I gained experience by being a member of several youth councils, working as a campaign manager for a Green Party candidate in Germany, and as an activist for the political campaign Visa Wie? fighting against discrimination in visa allocation at German embassies.
Beyond journalism, I have been academically focusing on conflict transformation in the Great Lakes Region, e.g. through interning with the Rwandan National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) and by researching about local war journalism practices (North-Kivu) and exiled conflict reporting (Burundians in Rwanda).
I possess good knowledge of the Great Lakes region, gained over more than seven years that I have been working e.g. with the Rwandan Ecologist Association (ARECO), different youth initiatives and centres in Rwanda (YouLI, Ahazaza etc.) and with the Partnership Rhineland-Palatinate/Rwanda.
Despite being mainly out of the country, I remain the social media manager of the Rwandan basketball club Patriots (representing Rwanda in the first NBA-Africa Basketball League 2020).
Principles I (try) to follow
Feminism. Anti-Eurocentrism. Slow News. Critical Whiteness. Radical Empathy.
Keeping in mind: Representation (Edward Zaid). Appropriation. Privileges.
I am fighting for the protection of our planet and animal rights, for consciousness and hence a responsible use of privileges, and against patriarchy. Often, you can find me in heated discussions and/or identity struggles. However draining this sometimes can be, I do not keep distance as I like my emotional character and think the world needs more of and not less of radical empathy.
I do have personal opinions and preferences, for instance, I might be a bit patriotic about my chosen home country Rwanda. However, this does not imply that I am not critical of it. Empathy and critical distance are combinable and I understand it as my journalistic task to present an overall image from a chosen angle, providing analytical insights – basically, to be the filter between reality and the public perception of it.
For my future career, this video inspired me.