Bihoyiki started teaching her father when she was 13 and says she did it because ever since she was old enough to think, she asked her mother why her father was in jail and her mother said she didn’t know and that pained her so much she decided to do something about it.
She says she heard people saying that her father, Mfashigihe Patrick, killed people during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi and that she felt so ashamed, prompting her to ask her mother to let her go visit her father in prison and ask every detail directly.
“By the time I was old enough to think, I knew my father was in jail and my mother never wanted to tell me what had happened. That is why I asked my mother to let me see him at least once so that I could ask him myself.”
She added that she spent three years teaching her dad to ask for forgiveness to the families of his victims so that she could find peace and live in harmony with children of neighbors he made orphans.
“I was 13 at the time and I went there four times before he was able to confess what I wanted to hear. Before, I would visit him and confront him about his crimes in the genocide and he would only cry, but at some point he agreed he went with the militia that killed neighbors but that he did not participate in the killing spree.”
After several visits, Mfashigihe Patrick confessed he had indeed participated in the killings and led the militia that attacked neighbors. He also confessed that one of the people they killed was his godfather.
He finally asked for forgiveness which was granted and now, the two families live in harmony and are in the same saving and credit cooperative called ‘DUHUZE’
After confessing for his crimes and asking for forgiveness, Mfashigihe served his 9-year sentence and did community work before returning to his village.
Now, he lives in perfect harmony with neighbors and without the shame that lived in his heart before he asked for forgiveness.
Bihoyiki says her story could be a life lesson to parents around the country and advises them to teach their kids the history of Rwanda and particularly what happened during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi for them to be able to fight its ideology.
She also requests genocide convicts who are currently serving their sentences to give information about where their victims were buried so that they can receive decent burial.