Monsieur Gakire’s A Dreaming Child was a difficult book to read. As a mother, reading about horrific atrocities meted out on innocent children during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, quite simply, broke my heart. As an English speaker, reading a book conceived by a French speaker meant I had to constantly let go of my innate reflex to fix the grammar.
Despite these ‘difficulties’, I was inspired by the stories documented in the book of young people that endured hell on earth and survived. I was amazed by the courage exhibited by the writer in approaching some of the perpetrators of the genocide in order to listen to and document their side of the story. I was struck by the rawness of the accounts of the author and the other contributors of life before, during and after the genocide. I shed tears quite a bit in the course of my reading as I acknowledged how the suffering described could easily have been in any other African country.
This is an important book. It needed to be written to present the Rwanda genocide story from the perspective of the young people who lived through such a terrible experience as children. The core message of the book, which I agree with completely, is that this kind of thing should never happen again in Rwanda. The book calls for unity and for the young generation of Rwandans to reject the divisionism and hatred between the two main tribes of the country that largely led to the break out of the genocide.
The stories in this book should be read by young people across the continent so that they can, hopefully, be part of making the commitment that Africans must stop killing each other on the basis of such a banal reason as tribal difference.
This book obviously invokes feelings of deep sadness but it also inspires hope that if young people can choose to walk the path of light, the darkness of genocide and all manner of war will be overcome.
This review was written, for Turn The Page, by Lynn Turyatemba.
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