Harrowing nightmare of Kurawige, whose father was killed during Genocide

By Karirima A. Ngarambe
On 3 February 2021 at 11:01

Kurawige Aline Umutoni, 32, has gone through a tumultuous life. At the age of five, she lost her father, who was killed in the presence during the genocide against Tutsis of 1994. She also lost her mother at 13 months.

Since then, she has embarked on a life-long search for her purpose, fortunately fleeing from her mother’s family but not being safe because she faced more traumatic events including sexual abuse.

In preserving that history and witnessing it, Aline wrote a book called From Bondage to Freedom” which is reminiscent of the path of genocide and sexual abuse survivor to the path of healing.

In an interview with IGIHE, Aline said that her book was written to testify to the events of the Genocide against the Tutsi when her father was killed by the Interahamwe.

“It is a book I have written so that those who deny the Genocide against the Tutsi, will witnesses and encourage more other survivors to write their story. It is a book I have written that has given me the strength and testimony I have heard from the film ’La Traverse du Génocide’ (which means “The Genocide Cross over”) which makes me feel like I will return to my place of forgiveness and make a documentary.”

She also mentioned that she is in process of signing a deal for a movie with a film production company in the United States of America.

Umutoni says that at the age of five when the Interahamwe killed her father, Dr Kurawige Jean Baptiste, he first hid her under a bed.

The girl, who was still a child, looked around and saw how her father was being cut, she saw blood dripping, but in her mind at her age she believed that her father would come back and pulled her out of the place where he hid her, but that did not happen.

Umutoni says she was later reunited with her maternal grandmother who was able to flee to Uganda in a refugee camp and leaving for Burkina Faso on November 3, 1994.

She later moved to South Africa in 2011; from there, she returned to Rwanda for the first time in 2012. But all these routes were not easy, as from the time her father was killed until 2011, she was in serious trouble.

Umutoni says she was devastated when she learned that the people who murdered her father were related to her mother’s side of the family. She was raised by her maternal grandmother who later passed away in 1999. After her passing, she had to learn to live in an environment that was not welcoming and was surrounded by people who had lied to her and never told her about her father. At the age of 16, Umutoni was sexually abused by her uncle for three years.

“My aunt and her husband had lost a child in 2004 so she wanted me to have a baby with her husband. Her husband would sexually abuse me at least five times a week. The man was very influential in the country and knew many powerful people including the President of Burkina then. He would always remind me that no one would believe my story because of his influence.”

Umutoni also said that upon arrival in Burkina Faso in 1994, she lived for three years with a man named Athanase whom she loved and looked up as a father figure. However, she was devastated to find out that Athanase was one of the three men who murdered her father.

“I lived with Athanase and honored him as an uncle and a father figure. He would walk me and my cousins to school, would correct us when needed. To me, he was the father I needed in that season. However, after three years living together, one morning, he announced his upcoming trip to South Africa. This was devastating for me as I felt abandoned because I had grown to see him as the authority figure in my life. The day after his departure, he Interpol (International Police) came looking for him. They told my family that Athanase was one of the people who murdered my dad.”

After the passing of her grandmother, Umutoni began to look for a way to escape but it was difficult for her because she had been prevented.

“When my grandmother passed away, I felt like a part of me had died with her. I started looking for a way of escape because I did not trust my family and felt betrayed after I found out about Athanase. I decided to study and be the best in school so I could get a scholarship and leave the house of oppression. After being sexually abused for three years, I tried to leave the house but faced many difficulties. These did not stop me from believing that one day I would be free. Finally, the day arrived when in 2011 I finally left Burkina Faso and went to South Africa where I started my healing journey."

Aline Umutoni Kurawige studied Geology at the University of Pretoria. In 2016, she did an internship at the Geological Mining Department of Rwanda (GMD) for 6 months before moving to the United States of America later that year.

This was not her first visit in Rwanda after the genocide as she went back for the first time in 2012. During her first visit, she went to prison to visit the man who sent the killers to murder her dad.

Born in Ngoma, Huye District of Southern Province in 1988; Aline Umutoni currently lives in Dallas Texas. She is one of the directors of a major mining company.

Umutoni showcasing her book in the United States of America.
Umutoni with her father, Dr. Kurawige Jean Baptiste.
Umutoni is one of the directors of a major mining company.
Umutoni visited one of perpetrators who got his father killed.
Kurawige was a little kid during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Umutoni Aline wrote a book called "From Bondage to Freedom”