Highlighting the importance of music and community as the 2016 Young Victorian Achiever of the Year
Growing up in war-torn Burundi, Fablice Manirakiza was raised as a child soldier before eventually escaping his country in 2007. Since arriving in Australia as a refugee, Fablice has built a remarkable life around his love for music.
His debut single Child Soldier was released in 2013 in collaboration with legendary Australian songwriter Paul Kelly. He also released his full album Just Passing Through and his EP Light of Peace in 2012 and 2015 respectively. A popular rap icon among Australian youths, Fablice has performed for fans around the world, including at concerts and workshops across Australia, East Timor and Africa. He has also performed alongside other popular artists like Xavier Rudd, Angie Hart, Blue King Brown, Painters And Dockers, Ella & Jesse Hooper (Killing Heidi) and Black Roots.
Outside of his music, Fablice is also heavily involved in Melbourne’s cultural landscape, working as a presenter, actor, festival producer and curator. He also regularly appears on national TV and radio programs, including on ABC TV’s series MY:24.
Passionate about giving back to the community, Fablice has served as President of the Australian Burundian Community in Victoria since 2013. He was also an Ambassador for Action Aid and Love of Languages across five years. His empowering TEDx talk, The Power of Education, explores his personal experiences and emphasised the importance of education in African countries like Burundi.
In 2015, Fablice toured East Timor to further spread his message of hope to the world. Performing at concerts and workshops, Fablice also appeared on national television and spoke in front of Jose Ramos Horta, the former president, UN Special Representative and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Having studied a Bachelor of Criminology and Justice at RMIT, Fablice is determined to bring peace to his home of Burundi and beyond. He regularly returns to Africa to work, perform and promote peace on the continent.
For his incredible work, Fablice was named the 2016 Victorian Young Achiever of the Year. The Australian Council for the Arts also awarded him the Kirk Robson Award in 2019 in recognition for his work in community arts and cultural development.
Fablice was also a recipient of Multicultural Arts Victoria’s inaugural Arts and Cultural Development Scholarship for Refugee Youth. He went on to be the host of ‘I Love Africa Day’ and ‘Black Harmony Day’, both funded by Multicultural Arts Victoria and the City of Yarra.
A powerful keynote speaker, Fablice inspires audiences with his stories of hope and freedom in the face of adversity. Capable of delivering engaging presentations to diverse audiences, Fablice has delivered workshops to world leaders, community groups and school students. He emphasises the powerful impact of music, delivering a much-needed reminder of resilience and hope for our future.