Ange Kagame reminded me of my height woes

Saturday August 16 2014

Ange Kagame with her father, President Paul

Ange Kagame with her father, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. AFP Photo 

By Esther Oluka

I get it: I have been blessed with the gift of height too and know that that is not always a pleasant thing to live with. The attention and comments Rwanda’s first daughter received took me back to having to deal with the insensitive comments about being too tall, writes Esther Oluka.

For the past week or two, the picture of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda standing next to his daughter, Ange Kagame, during the recently-concluded US Africa leader’s summit in the United States has caused quite a buzz on various media platforms. Many were not only stunned by how beautiful Ange was but by how much taller she was than her father. President Kagame is estimated to be six feet two inches tall, so, you can imagine how tall Ange must be. Word is that she got 2,000 new followers on her Twitter page as soon as this particular photograph hit the Internet, as reported by Standard Digital news.
Then, there is another photo in which this second child and only daughter of President Kagame and Jeannette Nyiramongi is seen towering over the United States President, Barrack Obama and his wife Michelle who are already tall themselves. Of course, these two particular photographs gave an opportunity to various social media users to either pass positive or negative criticism on her.
One very interesting tweet from @ssojo81 read, “Now Twitter is suggesting that I follow @Ange Kagame. Is it because I did not enter my height when opening an account?” while another from @makhondlovu read, “She is towering over #Flotus @flotus. But how gorgeous is the daughter of His Excellency Paul Kagame?”

Graceful, in and out
What I found rather interesting is how Ange graciously handled the overwhelming attention to her height. For instance, her tweet response to @makhondlovu read, “@ makhondlovu Aww...thank you so much. I tower over a lot of people, lol.”
Another one of her tweets read “I’m not 25 guys. That’s an extra four years y’all are adding to my life. lol. I really appreciate all of the love though.” This girl’s gracefulness blew me away. This is because I can relate to her situation since sometimes I tend to receive quite similar attention. I am tall, but of course, not as tall as Ange.

The unpleasant bits
When I was younger, being so tall began to feel like a punishment. I remember a time when I was the high school joke because of my height. One particular stubborn boy in senior one always called me “long neck” or “long legs” leaving me in tears each time.
The teachers also preferred that I sat at the back of the classroom, and at the school assemblies where we stood according to height, I always found myself the last on the line.
Surprisingly, everything has changed now. The same bullies who used to make fun of me are the same ones complimenting me today.
Some tell me I should be modelling, and not working as a journalist. Recently, a male interviewee requested me to wear flat shoes the next time I went to interview him, because my height was intimidating. That day I had worn heels. He added that I had another full time job looking for a husband taller than me. I simply laughed back.
You see, there are things that people will always say about you that are not always pleasant. Some of them will really hurt. But instead of making a big deal of them, always laugh those small things off. Life is already too short to make a fuss about. That is why I say, cheers to you Ange Kagame.

About Ange Kagame
Ange, 21, whose height, complexion and figure could pass her for a super model, loves sports and charity work which she actively takes part in alongside her mother Jeannette Kagame. In her childhood she was flown to study abroad and her friends describe her as bright and great with academics. She is the second born and President Kagame’s only daughter.