Rwanda: COVID-19 - Gaël Faye Reveals He Battled Coronavirus

A few weeks after leaving Rwanda on a tour to promote his film "Petit Pays" which is based on his book, author Gaël Faye has revealed that he has been battling the novel coronavirus.

In an Instagram post, Faye said two weeks ago as he travelled around promoting the film that was set to hit European cinemas, he developed COVID-19 like symptoms and discovered that he had contracted the virus but gave an indication that he has recovered.

"2 weeks ago during the promotion of #petitpayslefilm I caught COVID-19. I was lucky not to be hospitalised unlike other people on the film crew,"

"I spent 15 days in total isolation. 15 days of body aches, headaches, coughing fits and especially respiratory problems," said Faye, adding that he felt as though he had glue his lungs and active blast furnaces in the rib cage.

"Since yesterday I have been able to rub shoulders with my family again. Thank you to the doctor who took care of me and admirably well cared for. I wish you all courage and take care of yourself and others during this strange time," the writer and rapper said.

Earlier this month, while he was in the country to promote Petit Pays, he revealed to The New Times that the film would hit European cinemas in March. The movie is drawn from his book published in August 2016.

The French-Rwandan rapper, however, put his activities on hold as the new coronavirus swept across the globe, disrupting everything, leading to the cancellation of public events and travel restrictions.

Petit Pays, which in French means 'small country', is his recollection of the civil war in Burundi in 1993, and later the Genocide against the Tutsi across the border in Rwanda in 1994 and the impact on his life.

The story revolves around a group of five boys aged between 11-14 years old, growing up in the Burundian capital of Bujumbura. The story is narrated by one of the boys, Gabriel (or Gaby), the book's protagonist, who is born in Bujumbura to a French father and Rwandan mother, just like Gaël Faye.

Petit Pays is written in French, and has been translated to over 30 languages, including Kinyarwanda - a testament to its universal appeal.

The book has gained international recognition with several nods, including the First French Novel Prize 2016, the 2016 Goncourt High School Student's Prize, and the French Culture-Telerama Student novel 2016.

Born to a French father and a Rwandan mother, Gaël was born in Burundi and went to France at the age of 13 - just like the life of Gabriel, the film's protagonist.

The movie's pre-release was held in Kigali, on March 7.

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