Moral Courage



Tour Diary


Cyprienne Ntaconzobimanitandekuye with Joseph Nahimana
"'If we do not kill him,' they said, 'we are going to have to kill you instead.' Fine, she told them, she would rather be killed instead of me."
Cyprienne Ntaconzobimanitandekuye, Joseph Nahimana and Pascal Ndenzako
Cyprienne saved Joseph and Pascal during the crisis. Cyprienne was honoured during a performance in Kinama, in April 2006, when this interview took place.

Joseph: During the crisis I was working at the home of a prominent man. One day the wife of my boss told me, "Joseph, go and check whether there is beer at Kabwa's." But she gave me neither money nor a crate. As soon as I arrived at Second Avenue, I saw a crowd there. They called me over, "You, come here!" I went over to them and they asked me for an identity card. I told them I had none. "Do you know what happening here?" they asked. I said no. They asked me to give them my grenade. I said I do not even know how grenade looks like.

They ordered someone to bring out a hoe and start digging a hole in the ground. He was told to finish within fifteen minutes. I stood there, waiting, not knowing what for. They asked him how much time longer he needed. He said another ten minutes. They hired someone else to help him. Now it would take just five more minutes. Then Cyprienne arrived.

Cyprienne: I was out with a friend when I saw a crowd at the other side of the road. When I got closer, I saw Joseph being beaten. There were many people around, but no one dared to help him. I asked what was happening.

Joseph: I told her they were going to kill me. They told me to shut up."What have you done to be killed?" She asked. I kept quiet. She asked them why they were going to kill me. "Madam do you know this dirty boy?" They asked her. "I do not know him," she answered. "But I know he is a human being like me." They said, "If we do not kill him," they said, "we are going to have to kill you instead." Fine, she told them, she would rather be killed instead of me.

© Burundi Voices Project, 2006.