Rwanda: Genocide Survivors Share Testimonies, Rwanda's Transformation in New Book

A new book documenting testimonies from three survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, as well as Rwanda's transformation journey was on Friday launched at Kigali Genocide Memorial.

The book, "RWANDA The country that was reborn", by Swedish entrepreneur Björn Sundeby talks about how three Rwandans, Devota Mukeshimana, Lyse Mutoni and Josée Butera now living in Sweden, miraculously survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and never gave up hope for a better world as well. It also tells of Rwanda's journey in rebuilding itself with pictures of Rwanda's transformation journey.

The book, 'RWANDA The country that was reborn' tells of Rwanda's transformation journey. / Craish Bahizi

During the book presentation, one of the Genocide survivors, Butera who contributed to the book revealed that it was not an easy in the beginning to document their testimonies through a book, but was inspired by the need to contribute to telling Rwanda's stories for the young people as well as the generations to come.

"I was inspired by my late uncle three years ago, who as a professor, convinced me to share my testimony because it will give true accounts of what actually happened, for the younger generation to learn from.

Also, we were very few people that survived in Gahanga during the genocide and so it was not easy to get as many people to testify because it requires strength to testify. I believe this project is going to have a big impact on the stories about Rwanda in Sweden as well as Rwanda," she said.

In the book, the survivors share memories of their perished families, the horror they endured in the 1994 Genocide which cost over a million of Tutsi in just 100 days.

Butera, a mother of four and running her own I.T consultancy firm, shared that living in the diaspora, the book helped reconnect with other survivors who comforted each other as they recounted the horrifying events.

"Relationships are very important in life and it's very important to have my friends around me to share stories, we have cried together and a lot of things in common. So knowing that I have fellow Rwandans who share the pain is somehow comforting," she said.

Sundeby, the author of the book, said writing down testimonies was very important for the young generation and the people of Sweden to learn more about the genocide and Rwanda's new image.

"The challenge in this project was telling young people, those in my home country, Sweden, we had to show them the facts because they do not know much about the genocide. Nonetheless, we all have to continue to tell our stories, so the truth can be shared," she said.

Senator Françoise Nyagahura, giving her remarks at the event. / Craish Bahizi

Marguerite Françoise Nyagahura, senator in the parliament of Rwanda, commended the author and survivors for sharing their testimonies and choosing a befitting title for the book, saying that the stories play a role in fighting against genocide ideology.

"Having lived in Sweden for 13 years before I returned home, whenever I told people I was Rwandan, three words came up, 'genocide, Hutu and Tutsi', which proved to me that people knew nothing about current Rwanda. I commend the author and the survivors who testified for telling Rwanda's story of resilience, hope and courage and choosing a befitting title. I hope the book encourages more young people to write and tell their own stories as a way of fighting genocide ideology," she said.

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