Natricia Duncan  in conversation with a Rwandan Genocide Survivor – (Part 2)
March 2, 2012
Natricia Duncan in conversation with a Rwandan Genocide Survivor – (Part 2)

Fri, Mar 2. 2012

Last Week: Leah, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, speaks of how family tried to flee the terror of Hutu Militia who were indiscriminately murdering Tutsis.

They had escaped to her aunt’s house but the Hutus found them….

We stayed where we were and prayed. But they came to us one night and took my older brother. They said they needed him to help with monitoring the neighbourhood. We knew it was lie.{{more}}

He said his goodbyes to us and asked us to pray. It was not long before we heard him screaming.

They tortured him, cut him up while he was alive and rammed a log inside him. When the screaming stopped we knew he had gone. They threw parts of him in a latrine and the rest they left for the dogs.

They came back to warn us that we were next. They wanted us to tell them who was for them and who was against them.

We stopped sleeping. Our nights were filled with terror. Then two days later they came and attacked my mother and aunt….

So there I was in the bushes, tired and traumatised. Then quite suddenly, the screaming from our house stopped. I waited for a while then I decided to go back.

Everything had been taken. My aunt was alive, but my mother was not moving. I was crying. I thought she was dead, but she then she spoke. She was too weak to move.

My brother and sister were nowhere to be seen. I feared the worse for them, but they later returned.

We moved our mother inside and waited, all the time fearing the worst.

Then suddenly a Hutu woman turned up at our door. She told us that they were going to come and finish us off and that she would help us. Her husband was one of the men who had attacked our family. We spent that night in the killer’s toilet. His wife had promised to try and keep him from using it.

Then at around 4 am, she came and told us that we had to leave. She said she would try to save the children. She dressed us up as if we were her own children and took us, me, my brother and my sister to an orphanage.

The orphanage took me and my sister but refused to take my six-year-old brother. They gave him biscuits and sent him away. The woman took him back to my mother and the following night the murderers finished what they had started.

They brought my mother and my aunt into the road and did things to them that I cannot speak of – things that they do to women.

They did it in front of my brother who was screaming all the time. Then they took the dead bodies and threw them into a pit. They threw my brother in alive. I was told that he screamed for four days, in that pit, with no food and with decaying bodies on top of him. When he was too weak to scream, he was groaning for help.

This annoyed one of the men who jumped into the hole and chopped his head off.

My sister and I stayed in the orphanage until the genocide ended. Then one day, a very good friend of my mother, who had survived, came to get us. She adopted us. Today, she is my best friend.

I don’t know why I survived and why others died, but I consider my life to be a precious gift and every day I am thankful.

l work hard and push myself because I want to make the best use of the second chance I have been given. I was able to graduate with first class honours in Financial Computing and now I am doing my Masters in Risk Management.

We should always remember the 800,000 Rwandans who were killed in the genocide, whose lives were brutally cut short. The world should remember the survivors who are still traumatised and who still need support and counselling.

Many of those who killed are still walking free. One of the men who murdered my family was captured then released because of a lack of evidence.

What more evidence is needed? I am the evidence. I am here without my family. And I have to live with the knowledge and fear that the people responsible are still out there.

The world should remember that there are many of us who are still searching for justice.