KWIBUKA 30: April 7, 2024 – the 30th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide

April 7th 2024 marks the start of Kwibuka 30, the 30th commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi, which began on this date in 1994. There was extensive state control and forced citizen compliance before and during the genocide. It was one of the worst episodes of mass state violence in the last century. During the Kwibuka 30 commemoration ceremonies, the Flame of Remembrance will be lit at the Kigali Genocide Memorial and dignitaries will place wreaths at the mass grave sites.  In and around Kigali during the memorial week, many commemoration ceremonies will be taking place that will honor the memory of those affected and promote working towards building a more compassionate and inclusive society. And, around the world in Rwandan diaspora communities, including survivors and stakeholders of the Federation of Rwandan Communities in Australia, will hold events that will share stories of resilience and healing, and shed light on the impact of the Genocide and the journey towards healing.

If you’d like to learn more about the cause, events, and impact of the Rwandan Genocide, take a look at the nonfiction titles below. Or, check-out one of the fictional stories based on the events surrounding the genocide and the people who were affected by them.


No Greater Love : how my family survived the genocide in Rwanda by Tharcisse Seminega

The Girl Who Smiled Beads : a story of war and what comes after by Clemantine Wamariya

Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds : a refugee’s search for home by Mondiant Dogon

Left To Tell : discovering God amidst the Rwandan holocaust by Immaculée Ilibagiza

Forgiveness Makes You Free : a dramatic story of healing and reconciliation from the heart of Rwanda by Ubald Rugirangoga


All Your Children, Scattered by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse

Kennedy 35 by Charles Cumming

The Eternal Audience of One by Rémy Ngamije


Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

re-one-of-themYou know what it’s like when you just can’t put a book down? Well, this widely acclaimed book was one I actually had to put down. I just needed to take a break from all the suffering and violence. Still, it’s a book I’m recommending. In fact, I really think that it should be required reading for most adult Americans. Why? Because how many of us are acutely aware of what is really happening in Africa? Sure, you may have heard it on the news, but this book will affect how you feel about those happenings.

The author, Uwem Akpan, is a Jesuit priest who was born in Nigeria and later educated in Michigan. He chooses to tell most of these short stories (a few quite long) through the eyes of children. This, in my view, makes them all the more tragic. For example, in the last story, “In my Parents’ Bedroom,” the young narrator, Monique, can’t understand why the ceiling is bleeding. For me, this was the most powerful story, reminding me of the movie Hotel Rwanda. Monique is the daughter of a Tutsi mother and a Hutu father and the title, Say You’re One of Them, is based upon the advice her mother gives her shortly before the machete-wielding mob arrives.

In the story, “An Ex-Mas Feast,” a 12- year old girl works as a prostitute in order to feed her starving family. And, in “Fattening for Gabon,” two children are sent to live with their slave-trading uncle as their parents die of AIDS. So, no, this is not a pleasant book, but it is an important one. For all those literally starving children in Africa, please at least give it a try.