25 January 2013

Rwanda: Samputu Takes Reconciliation Campaign to Scotland

Afrobeat musician Jean Paul Samputu has taken his forgiveness and reconciliation campaign - which involves his life experience testimonies - to Scotland.


My family was murdered during the Genocide by a friend and neighbour, but because I relieved my heart by forgiving him, I still call him a friend .

Yesterday, students from various schools got a chance to find out first hand the horrors, struggles and hardships that Samputu and other survivors endured during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, in which more than one million people died.

The students were given a chance to ask questions on how one can forgive a person who betrayed them.

"My family was murdered during the Genocide by a friend and neighbour, but because I relieved my heart by forgiving him, I still call him a friend," Samputu said. Samputu's testimony session is part of the two-week Scottish Holocaust Memorial events, including the Scottish Holocaust Memorial Day, which will be held next Monday in Glasgow's City Chambers.

The annual event highlights historical atrocities, including the Nazi Holocaust and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Samputu was recognised in 2007 as an Ambassador of Peace by the Inter-religious and International Federation of World Peace and is the founder of the Rwandan Forgiveness Project, which promotes peace and reconciliation.

Samputu sings in six languages, including Kinyarwanda, Swahili, Lingala, Luganda, French and English. He uses a variety of musical genre in his work. After the Genocide and murder of his family by a man he regarded as his best friend, Samputu fell into a spiral of drink and drug abuse and was unable to perform music for several years until he forgave his friend.

In 2009 he was nominated for World Vision International's Peace Prize.

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