Jean de Dieu "Rafiki" Uwimana, was the team spokesperson in the beginning as he had the best grasp of the English language. He also was the most charismatic and outgoing of the five.
Unfortunately, much of what Rafiki "Kiki" learned came from his time on the streets of Kigali after the 1994 Genocide. Kiki had been sent to live with relatives in the country due to the violence in Kigali. His parents separated from Rafiki for his safety, and after the Genocide, Rafiki lived on the streets of Kigali for five years before being reunited with his parents. Rafiki had learned what it took to survive.
Rafiki was the first rider who spread the word about Jock Boyer coming back to test more riders. Rafiki wasn't the strongest rider, but he had all the attributes "Coach" was looking for strength on the bike, English speaking, and charisma. Rafiki had them all.
Rafiki's first race was the 2008 Cape Epic where he partnered with Project Rwanda founder, Tom Ritchey. Later that year, he made his first trip to America. Rafiki rode consistently over the early years.
In 2009, Rafiki had a son he named, Jonathan, after "coach." Jonathan's mother, who had custody, was quite young and they never married. Rafiki spent much of 2011 and 2012 fighting for Jonathan's well being eventually gaining full custody of his young son. They moved in with Coach and Mukecuru (Kimberly), and Rafiki tried to regain his form. His last major race was the 2011 Tour of Rwanda.
Rafiki had always worked on bikes during his years as a rider, and now he transitioned into mechanics full time joining his teammate, Obed, in the after racing life. Kiki is a good mechanic, but he found his niche years later as a tour guide.
In 2014, Team Rwanda Cycling moved to the Africa Rising Cycling Center (ARCC). The team put Rwanda on the map for cycling tourism, and Rafiki naturally fell into the role of tour guide, which enabled him to earn enough to support his now growing family. Rafiki and his girlfriend, Vestina, had a daughter in 2014, Umahoza and they all moved into a new home in Musanze in 2015. Jonathan was over the moon to have a stepmother and a little sister to dote over.
Rafiki continues to work as a mechanic at ARCC and guides almost weekly. He also travels, mostly to the US, for fundraising functions as an ambassador of Team Rwanda. In 2016, he was at the 50 Mile Ride with Jonathan, who was everyone's FAVORITE cyclist!
Rafiki is also working with the rest of the members of the original five to build a business to support cycling in Rwanda. In addition, they are forming cycling club to start fostering the growth of the next generation of cyclists. Team Rwanda has given Rafiki and his family a second chance at life.