#Kwibuka30: Association of Genocide Widows Launches Book to Mark 30th Commemoration

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 8 April 2024 at 12:19

The Association of Genocide Widows Agahozo (AVEGA) has unveiled a new book titled ‘Entendez-nous!’ (Listen to Us) as Rwanda marks the 30th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The French book, written by Esther Mujawayo and Daniel Le Scornet, was launched during the Kwibuka30 International Conference held at Intare Arena in Kigali on Friday, 5, 2024. The newly -launched book retails at RWF25,000.

Speaking during the launch of the book, Mujawayo, who founded AVEGA after the genocide in 1994, said 13 women from the association contributed to the book.

According to the survivor, the testimonies in the book aim to comfort people suffering from trauma and depression by showing them that they have a supportive country and that survival is possible, as evidenced by these women’s experiences.

“The association helped us a lot from trauma, from loneliness as all our relatives were killed… Being together not only brought us hope but brought us to life,” she stated.

Mukandoli Dancille, one of the women and contributor in the book, emphasized that the organization had not only renewed their hope to live but help the vulnerable too.

“We started the association in tears. We would wonder what we could do with tears. There was a lot of trauma that we could not bear alone without the support of others. We used to think we were dead. But we survived. We wondered what we could do. We said we needed to do something; we didn’t need to cry alone,” she stated.

"Later, we were determined and said we could do it. Even our grown children were telling us, ’Mom, you are our heroines. You can do something that could change the world.’ To speak out about what had happened in Rwanda.”

The association’s work includes starting a trauma center to help individuals suffering from trauma receive counseling and other psychological services.

"In the months following the genocide, we were lost. We had women, like teachers, who lost their children. When schools reopened and these women saw students the same age as their deceased children, they were traumatized and even fled their jobs. Nurses faced similar experiences. Providing care to children the same age as their own who were killed during the genocide deeply affected them mentally,” Dancille disclosed.

“We thought that the first thing to do is establish a trauma center for traumatized people because then someone who was traumatized was deemed to be mad,” she added.

Scornet, on his part, maintained that the women deserve to be heard because they have an important message for humanity.

“We went out of our way with pen and paper to have something to remember all the people we lost. Now that the genocide is recognized and the responsibility, including that of my country, is known, we felt compelled to write something. We approached this with some form of ambition because we wanted to share what happened to these ladies,” the author added.

AVEGA founder and author Esther Mujawayo speaking during @Kwibuka30 International Conference
Mukandoli Dancille, one of the women and contributor in the newly-launched AVEGA collective book
Author Daniel Le Scornet during the #Kwibuka30 International Conference
AVEGA's newly-launched book titled ‘Entendez-nous!’
AVEGA founder and author Esther Mujawayo (second from right) discuses the association's collective book 'Entendez-nous!' during @Kwibuka30 International Conference