top of page

Some excerpts of Samedi détente’s text

“On the road, they called us all Tutsis. All the children, the adults, my cousins and I. My

father, at each barrier, to those who searched us and killed anyone at will, would say to them ‘do you not see my father here with me? Look at his identity card and take a look at mine’.

On the road back home, the ‘inkotanyi’ (the troops of the Rwandan Patriotic Front RPF) would ask aunt Alphonsine, the youngest sister of my father, ‘ariko wowe wacitse ute?’How did you survive? Because of her narrow nose.

“What’s this?

A sewing machine. What’s this?

A radio.

What’s all this? Diplomas.

What’s this language? German.

Where’s your wife? In England.

IKITSO – a spy, isn’t she?

There were always white people coming in and out of your house, you knew, you had

been informed, that is why she fled! SPEAK UP!

Indangamuntu ! Identity cards!”

“It was boiling hot. We walked very fast. The lice were devouring every bit of us. We had so many of them buried in our hair and the folds of our skin and clothes, so much so that each time we sat to rest, we would start killing them. They were plenty and they were everywhere. The hair on our heads as well as any other part of our bodies and our clothes were the true kingdoms of the lice. We even held lice killing competitions to see who could kill the most lice in the least amount of time.

ONE, TWO, THREE, GO ! Each child, king of his or her own layers of clothing, taking it out on these small insects, and when one had sufficiently killed one’s own insects, would pursue the work by attacking the layers of clothes of another child.

Games. Massacres.

Massacres all around. I was going to turn 12.

A child and an adult, both at once.

I did not gone through a teenage crisis.

I was taking care of David and the honey.”

“Upon our return to Kigali, there were dogs on every side of the streets. The fat kind.

Nice and plump. There were vultures too. More than satiated. In the streets of Gikondo, pictures were scattered, some in colour and some in black and white. A kind of installation of dead bodies decomposing in the heating sun and shots of the lives set and annihilated overnight.”

“ ‘In the corridor, QUICK! - Why?’

Children, always asking why. President Habyarimana’s plane had been demolished, shot.

I thought about the games we had been playing the previous weeks and what the grown ups had said to us. We no longer were in Delta Force, no longer was there even a shadow of Arnold Schwarzenegger lurking in our memories. Neither the Americans, nor the English, nor the French, nor the Belgians, nor the Swiss remained, no longer were there any foreign citizens. They all disappeared and left us alone to drown in deep shit and cold blood.”

bottom of page