Shadows of life, death and survival in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    Various writers and survivors have offered literary responses to the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda. In 1998, a group of African intellectuals, mostly non-Rwandans, of whom two were female authors, participated in a collective writing project, Rwanda: écrire par devoir de mémoire, tasked to tell the story of the genocide. Genocide survivor, sociologist and psychotherapist, Esther Mujawayo, has since narrated her own story. Although critics have explored the portrayal of trauma in literature in other texts and contexts, a comparative study between these three texts of female authors; one survivor and two intellectuals, focusing on the experience of female survivors and in particular that of being raped has not yet been conducted. This article examines how trauma is made visible to the reader by exploring the characteristics of the ‘death experience’ and their mediated form, as offered by the three authors. This comparative study furthermore highlights the elements in the lives of survivors which influence their ability to move from a position of mere survival to that of embracing life after the genocide.