Moral Courage



Tour Diary


Pauline Nahimana
"Bagumako began shivering with fear. 'Calm down,' I told him, 'If we have to die, we will all die together.'"
Pauline Nahimana and Tharcisse Bagumako
Pauline and her father saved Bagumako and his familiy during the crisis. Paulines was honoured during a performance in Kinama in April 2006, when this interview took place.

Pauline: I live in Ruyigi Quarter, Kinama Commune.

We were good neighbours with Bagumako and his family. We were not aware of each other's ethnicity. We did not know anything about the Hutu and the Tutsi. He was only our neighbour. We used to get fire from him. We even used to share beer together.

When the crisis began, we saw the Hutu terrorising and killing the Tutsi. They came to Bagumako's home to kill him and his family. This was when we discovered Bagumako and his family were Tutsi.

Bagumako: They came with machetes. One of them had a gun. His name was Juma. He was Rurinda's son.

Pauline: They were standing on the road. "What are you here for?" we asked them. They answered that they wanted to burn the Tutsi.

I stood up. "They are my best friends and they are good neighbours," I said. "You cannot kill them."

"If we do not kill them, we will kill you!"

"Instead of just killing them," we responded, "you will have to kill all of us."

"We are going to go away now," they said. "But we are coming back soon."

Bagumako began shivering with fear. "Calm down," I told him, "If we have to die, we will all die together." His children entered my house and he stayed outside. While we waited for the killers to come back, I arranged for the children and their mother to go to Ngagara where they would be safer. When the killers returned, they asked me where the Tutsi were.

© Burundi Voices Project, 2006.