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Hugo, in the article accompanying his images, contends that forgiveness, in this context, is not merely a matter of the victims being supremely enlightened: it is a practical necessity. “These people can’t go anywhere else,” he observes.

“They have to make peace…Forgiveness is not born out of some airy-fairy sense of benevolence. It’s more out of a survival instinct.” The article then proceeds to feature the moving accounts of how these Rwandans managed to find hope amid horror.

Towards its close, there is a quote from Laurent Nsabimana, a perpetrator, who says of his victim – Beatrice Mukarwambari, whose house he raided and destroyed – that “her forgiveness proved to me that she is a person with a pure heart”. For her part, Mukarwambari is the model of grace. “If I am not stubborn,” she says, “life moves forward. When someone comes close to you without hatred, although horrible things happened, you welcome him and grant what he is looking for from you. Forgiveness equals mercy.” (My italics.)

Twenty years after the genocide, Rwandans are finding ways to reconciliation. But it’s too soon for the nations and institutions that failed to help to forgive themselves.


"I lost my husband on a Monday afternoon of April 1994, killed by a group of people that were our neighbors. I started running with my two children towards the West of the country. At each checkpoint, I was raped by soldiers. Now, I live with HIV and must raise my kids alone.” — Martha

Image by Tomaso Clavarino. Rwanda, 2014.

Forthcoming Pulitzer Center-sponsored project “We Are the Past.”

Released in 2005, “Sometimes in April” is an Idris Elba-starring made-for-television film that tells story of the 1994 Rwandan genocide through the lives of two brothers on opposing sides of the conflict.

The film was directed by Raoul Peck, who also developed the screenplay. Peck is an award-winning Haitian filmmaker who also brought to life the story of Congo’s Patrice Lumumba first in the 1990 documentary “Lumumba: La mort d’un prophete”, and later in “Lumumba”, a feature film biopic.

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All Africa, All the time.

Rwanda documentary aims to use radio as a tool for social change.

April 7th 2014 will mark exactly 20 years since the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide that left 100,000s of innocent people dead.

It will also signal the beginning of Love Radio: Episodes of Love & Hate, a new transmedia documentary by Anoek Steketee and Eefje Blankevoort that aims to explore the subject of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda.

Consisting of a web documentary, mobile tap stories for smartphone users and an exhibition in Amsterdam’s FOAM Museum (from 11th July to 7th September),Love Radio straddles the thin line between fact and fiction. At first glance it tells a linear, almost fairy-tale narrative, based around the radio soap Musekeweya (‘New Dawn’). But a closer look reveals the complex reality. While in the soap happy endings predominate, reconciliation in real life is rather more intransigent. After the gruesome killings, how can perpetrators and victims live with and love each other?

Love Radio tells the story of the soap’s creators, its actors and audience through film, photography and text. It is a story of the impact of mass media and the thin line between fact and fiction, violence and reconciliation, guilt and innocence. It’s is a transmedia documentary about the process of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. It consists of a web documentary, mobile Tap stories and an exhibition.


Rwanda: Twenty Years Marked in New London Photography Exhibition

After the genocide in Rwanda, twenty years ago, that led to the deaths of up to a million people, Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now brings work by Rwandan photographers to international audiences for the first time. Intimate images of everyday life in the Great Lakes communicate the complexities of survival after mass violence.

The photographs are the fruits of a workshop led by award-winning international photographers Andrew Esiebo (Nigeria) and Brendan Bannon (US and Kenya) in which photographers from Rwanda questioned the ways in which their country is portrayed internationally.

Too often the country is reduced to images of violence and death, as seen through the eyes of outsiders. For this exhibition, Rwandans have challenged this gaze and now show us their country through their own eyes.

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(via afroklectic)

A heart-wrenching tune, perhaps autobiographical in nature, about a young boy growing up with an absent father, the video so perfectly captures and illustrates the angst of a frustrated son desperate to see his father ‘come alive’.

The setting, use of colour and costumes - and of course the dancing - all help to bring this video to life, and I can’t help but love all the brown people featured in it as well as the slight soukous guitar melody that is heard solidly at the end of the song.

Papaoutai”, the literal pronunciation of Papa où t’es meaning “Dad, where are you?”, was written by Stromae and was the lead single release from his sophomore album Racine Carree.

619 plays

Decided to revisit the debut album from Belgian-Rwandese artist Stromae who I was introduced by my younger sister who’s incredibly hip the Francophone popular music scene, and of course her putting me on to Cheese definitely solidified that fact.

With a unique blend of electronic and dance-pop beats, layered with a serving of French rap delivered in Stromae’s highly sensual and slightly gruff vocals loaded with character and an intense vibrancy, every single track on this collection of songs is highly addictive, commanding your full attention both lyrically and melodically.

Born Paul Van Haver, Stromae has been actively making music since 2005. But it wasn’t until 2009 with the release of his hit song Alors on Danse, that Haver managed to successfully launch himself in the music world, going on to collaborate with Kanye West on the remix of the song.

Since then, Stromae has released two successful studio albums - Cheese and Racine Carree - both reaching number 1 on Belgian charts.

Kigali. Rwanda.
(via thesoulfunkybrother)
Ph: Raymond Depardon, 1994.

Kigali. Rwanda.

(via thesoulfunkybrother)

Ph: Raymond Depardon, 1994.

Ingoma Nshya - Rwandan Women’s Drumming Group perform during their practice session in Butare, Rwanda on May 19, 2011.

The incredible women who are part of the Ingoma Nshya musical group - the first all-women drumming troupe in Rwanda, are of both Hutu and Tutsi origin, and all are survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Established in 2005 by Odile Gakire Katese (or Kiki as she is mostly known as), the group has around 100 members (as of 2012) and was created with the intention of forging a space and outlet through which these women, as survivors of a brutal conflict, could express themselves freely and, in the process, find ways to heal and reconcile.

Their story was documented in the documentary ‘Sweet Dreams’.

This performance gave me chills! If these beats don’t move you, I’d check my pulse if I were you.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

WorldSessions: A Day in the Life of Somi’s World

It’s a beautiful sunny day in the Big Apple, some time back in 2011, and as Rwandan-Ugandan-American singer-songwriter and musician Somi traverses the cosmopolitan streets of New York City, we get a narrated view, accompanied by her singing, of a part of her daily life as she speaks about her personal experiences and musical influences.

Somi was also featured as a STYLE ICON in Dynamic Africa.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

Happy Independence Day Rwanda!

Rwanda saw the first European presence, when German Count Von Goetzen visited the country in 1894. However, it was not until 1897 that Germans began establishing their control over Rwanda, and the Kingdom of Burundi to the South, as part of German East Africa. The colony later came to be known as Ruanda-Urundi after it was ‘handed’ over to Belgium, by the League of Nations, under the Treaty of Versailles.

For many years the Germans ruled the country indirectly through the Tutsi King (Tutsi was the elite class consisting mostly of aristocracy). The other major ethnic group was Hutu, who were the working class, primarily farmers.

Like other imperial powers first the Germans, and then the Belgians, who occupied the region around 1916 through military occupation, stirred the ethnic and social differences between the two groups. These differences eventually triggered the ethnic violence in 1959, which led to ouster of Tutsi monarchy in what is present-day Rwanda.

In 1961, in a referendum supervised by the United Nation, Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming majority. The party came to form an interim government, and was granted internal autonomy in January 1962.

Rwanda soon won its complete independence on July 1, 1962 through UN resolution that ended the trusteeship of Belgium (at the end of World War II Ruanda-Urundi had become a United Nation trust territory under Belgian administrative authority at the end of Second World War).

(text edited but sourced from here)

FILM: “Tu seras mon Allié” (Dir. Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam, 2012)

Cameroonian director Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam’s most recent short film follows the story of Domé, a 35 year old woman from Gabon played by actress Bwanga Pilipili, who is stopped at the airport in Brussels, Belgium, due to discrepancies with her paperwork.

Domé then faces a long and grueling ordeal in the form of an interrogation by Belgian airport officials, unsure of whether or not she’ll realize her dream of entering the European country.

The English translation of the film’s title is ‘You Will Be My Ally’.


Agathe Uwilingiyimana (23 May 1953 – 7 April 1994) was a Rwandan political figure. She served as Prime Minister of Rwanda from 18 July 1993 until her death on 7 April 1994. Her term was ended when she was assassinated during the opening stages of the Tutsi Genocide. She was Rwanda’s first and so far only female prime minister.

She joined the Republican and Democratic Movement (MDR), an opposition party, in 1992, and four months later was appointed Minister of Education by Dismas Nsengiyaremye, the first opposition prime minister under a power-sharing scheme negotiated between President Juvénal Habyarimana and five major opposition parties. As education minister she abolished the academic ethnic quota system, awarding public school places and scholarships by open merit ranking. This decision earned her the enmity of the Hutu-extremist parties.

From Habyarimana’s death until her assassination the following morning (approximately 14 hours), Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana was Rwanda’s constitutional head of government. The U.N. peacekeeping force sent a Belgian escort to her home before 3 am the following morning; they intended to take her to Radio Rwanda, from where she planned a dawn broadcast appealing for national calm. Uwilingiyimana’s house was further guarded by five Ghanaian U.N. troops on the outside in addition to the ten Belgian troops. Inside the house, the family was protected by the Rwandan presidential guard, but between 6:55 and 7:15 am the presidential guard surrounded the U.N. troops and told them to lay down their arms. Fatally, the blue berets ultimately complied, handing over their weapons just before 9 am.

Seeing the stand-off outside her home, Agathe Uwilingiyimana and her family took refuge in the Kigali U.N. volunteer compound around 8 am. Eye-witnesses to the inquiry on U.N. actions say that Rwandan soldiers entered the compound at 10 am, and searched it for Agathe Uwilingiyimana. Fearing for the lives of her children, Agathe and her husband emerged, and they were shot and killed by the presidential guard on the morning of 7 April 1994. Her children escaped and eventually took refuge in Switzerland. In his book, Me Against My BrotherScott Peterson writes that the U.N. troops sent to protect Uwilingiyimana were castrated, gagged with their own genitalia, and then murdered.

She said in her last recorded words:

There is shooting, people are being terrorized, people are inside their homes lying on the floor. We are suffering the consequences of the death of the head of state, I believe. We, the civilians, are in no way responsible for the death of our head of state.


(via b-sama)


Rwanda’s first female pilot takes to the skies at 24

Esther Mbabazi trained to fly Rwandair regional jets despite her father being killed in a plane crash when she was eight

By Jenny Clover

Esther Mbabazi was eight years old when her father was killed in a crash as the plane he was flying in overshot the runway landing in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

So when, a few years later she announced her intention to train as a pilot, the planwas not well received by some of her family. But at the age of 24, Mbabazi has made history as the first female Rwandan pilot – although as a woman she says she doesn’t make flight announcements because it scares the passengers.

“Some people questioned why I wanted to do it, they thought I wanted to be a pilot to find out what happened to my dad, but that didn’t have anything to do with it,” Mbabazi said.

“Being a pilot really was my childhood dream, I don’t think anything was going to stop it. It started when I travelled with my family and we would get the free things for kids, like the backpacks. I really liked that and I just liked to travel. The whole intrigue of this big bird in the sky, I was amazed. That and the free backpacks planted the seed.”

Mbabazi, who is fluent in five languages, trained at the Soroti flight school in Uganda before being sponsored to continue her training in Florida by national carrier Rwandair. She now flies the company’s CRJ-900 regional jets across Africa.

The death of her father has influenced the way she flies. “It has moulded my character as a pilot, and I think what happened to my dad makes me a little more safe. It could have stopped me, but an accident is an accident. If someone is knocked over in a car you don’t stop driving. As a pastor’s child I know that you have to let stuff go.”

One person who never questioned Mbabazi’s plans was her mother, Ruth. A strong farmer and businesswoman, she wasn’t fazed to see her daughter take to the air after what the death of her husband, who was a Pentecostal pastor before his death.

“I didn’t get any resistance from my mum,” Mbabazi said. “In her time she was the only girl in her electricity class, so she doesn’t have any issues with what I do. She has five children and whether we want to do fashion or aviation, as long as we’re doing something we’re interested in, she’s happy.”

Mbabazi was born in Burundi, where her family had moved beforeRwanda’s genocide in 1994. The family moved back to Rwanda in 1996.

While not without its critics, particularly on human rights issues, Rwanda is now a secure and rapidly developing country. GDP grew by 7.7% last year and the government claims to have lifted one million people out of poverty in five years. Particular progress has been made towards gender equality. Women make up more than half of MPs.

“Things are changing in Rwanda,” says Mbabazi. “Before you wouldn’t find women driving taxis here, and now you see it. There are men who cook now in Rwanda, when, in an African culture, women have to cook. So I think eventually things change. If you really work hard and you prove that you can do something well, I don’t think there’s a question of you being a woman, it doesn’t come into the equation.

“There are not so many male Rwandan pilots either. So even though I am the first female, my colleagues are the first male Rwandan pilots to be flying commercial planes. So I think it’s a big change for all of us Rwandans and something that should be celebrated.”


Good morning #Kagugu ! #rwanda #taximoto #kigali