For Rwanda, Because We Never Forget

Posted: April 8, 2014 in RWANDAN POETRY
Tags: , ,
Genocide Memorial - There was a life behind every name

Genocide Memorial – There was a life behind every name (cred. Rwanda Safari Adventure)

Twenty years ago this week, Rwanda experienced the greatest tragedy in living memory. The word ‘genocide’ has become a synonym for what happened in those dark 100 days that led to the hacking, axing, shooting, clubbing, killing of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in one of the bloodiest spectacles man has witnessed. Man was to man, prey; man was to man, scavenger.

But 20 years on, Rwanda has risen out of the ash. Today, the country is holding itself together, patting itself, beating a new path to a new place where Rwanda means prosperity. Where Rwanda means oneness! Where Hutu and Tutsi and Twa mean nothing. Where Rwandan means everything! Let me share with you this poem I wrote to mark 20 years since the genocide. Folow on twitter, #Kwibuka20 and #Rwanda20yrs. God bless the 400 Ghanaian peacekeepers who defied our government’s orders and the orders of the UN Security Council to withdraw, standing to defend the thousands they could defend in those 100 dark days. Click here to read their story of bravery.



You were my brother
When the rains fell fast,
Racing down for their share of the scavenge
Which the river had reddened itself with.
The land hugged corpses, content
To bite the bones off dry flesh
Breezes changed cologne each time they passed over.
We stood together, silent.
You were my brother.

Did it matter if I was Tutsi?
What is the spelling of Hutu; You too?

We dug a live man out of a mass grave.
Another returned seeking the blood of the best friend who killed his family.
Women were served rape for breakfast.
Twelve baskets full left over
Were dished to the babies after them.
Were you my brother?

Today, the sun rises on our land
Watered before with the blood of our brothers
We hold hands together, daring tomorrow, never again.
If they come again, tooting Tutsi and hooting Hutu,
Demanding my blood from your hands,
Just look upon this spectacle
Remember us, the scars who survived that sore
And remember this question I ask you now;
Will you be my brother?

*Kwibuka is Kinyarwandan and means ‘Remember’.

  1. mj says:

    It is difficult to ‘praise’ a tribute such as this. Words cannot utter depth of emotion – just as they are incapable of describing the anguish of a land shorn of its children, bloodied by the crimes of power. One can only silently pray for a better world, and a Rwanda that will never look back at those dark days.

    Thank you for this powerful reminder that every person on this earth, even one I have never seen, counts.


  2. africanbookreview says:

    Reblogged this on The African Book Review.


  3. livelytwist says:

    Dela, this is beautiful. The answers to the four questions you asked will define not only Rwanda, as the sun rises on their land, but also the rest of the world, because we live in multi-ethnic societies.

    Will you be my brother? . . . I am turning this question over and over in my mind.


  4. Dela says:

    Thanks for your compliments, Timi. Those questions came to me as the necessary questions that stand today after that genocide. Does it matter anymore if any one is Tutsi? Or Hutu? And if the world is faced with this dilemma again, will Hutu and Tutsi remain the brothers they are today? Powerful questions, really.


  5. A beautifully moving tribute to a time in our history when we had no answers because the mind had ceased to operate not out of death but out of a numbness far painful than death. Never again. Thank you, Dela :-)


  6. modupe says:

    Love this poem. I am a Nigerian and I can really relate with this, especially with the killings going on in the Northern part of my country. I don’t know why man must kill another for whatever reason. I really don’t know why.


  7. […] For Rwanda, Because We Never Forget. […]


  8. Rwanda is one of the great nations in Africa. If the people of the country can pull together fragmented muscles and forge ahead, I believe there’s a future for Africa, replete with crises, and that we can still get it right. In Nigeria,the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ anthem is being chanted in every corner and even abroad; due to the Boko Haram cataclysm that saw to the abduction of the girls. Yet,we should have faith. If we can make it through the night,there’s a better day,thanks to Tupac Shakur.


    • Dela says:

      Everyone mentions Nigeria now for the unexplainable violence. It saddens me that our brothers to the East have to suffer the evil that is Boko Haram. Ghana stands with Nigeria in these trying times.


  9. Very powerful…even 20 years does not fade away the pain does it? I wrote a poem about the Post Election Violence in Kenya 2007/8, when tribalism reared its ugly head. I would be happy if you read it.

    You Look Like Me


    • Dela says:

      Hi, thanks for coming by and joining the conversation. It will be difficult for any Rwandan of this generation to ease up on the memory of the agony of the genocide. I’m off to read yours too :)


  10. Heart and soul spreads with aching emotion in your writing. The cruelty we are willing to inflict upon another is beyond my comprehension. Why can’t we have a peace loving world? No, I’m not asking for an answer. In the U.S. the National Rifle Association has persuaded several states that it’s okay to allow guns into churches, bars, state buildings, public gathering places and the list goes on. I don’t see peace when we are blatantly allowing and in some cases, even encouraging our citizens to arm themselves and carry ammunition.


    • Dela says:

      Man cannot be understood, Sheri. Sad truth: the negative actors have been allowed to have their way for so long that if anyone should ask you today ‘Did you hear of the bomb blast in Afghanistan?’, your likely response woud be ‘Which of them?’


  11. […] For Rwanda, Because We Never Forget […]


  12. Beatriz says:

    who wrote this????


Your comments go a long way

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s