Moral Courage



Tour Diary


Valérie Mpawenimana
"Do you see how this machete looks like? This is what will cut you in two."
Valérie Mpawenimana and Gaudence Nikuze
Valérie her saved Gaudence's husband and children during the crisis. Valérie was honoured during a performance in Kinama, in April 2006, when this interview took place.

Valérie: In 1993, in Kinama, Hutu and Tutsi lived together. I had a Tutsi neighbour, Jean Marie. We lived close to each other and we were good friends. When the crisis began, Hutu started to kill my Tutsi neighbours.

Gaudence: We were accused of having killed the Hutu. At first, they just threatened us: "You have not left Kinama yet?" they would ask. "Stick around and you will see what will happen to you!"

One day many people came to terrorize us. One of them showed us his machete. "Do you see how this machete looks like?" he asked. "This is what will cut you in two." We told them we did not hurt any Hutu, but they did not believe us. "Get immediately into your house before we behead you," they told us.

That evening a man came and he asked me where my husband was. "My husband is not yet here, he is still at work," I answered. He was working at the Roi Khaled Hospital at the time. "What time will he be here?" I said that I did not know. He left saying that he will be back.

After two days, we were attacked by a crowd armed with machetes and spears. Some carried containers of kerosene. A few of them began throwing stones at the house. We heard some arguments:
"Why do you want to kill them?"
"We should kill them because they would kill us."


© Burundi Voices Project, 2006.