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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

SURVIVOR’S TESTIMONY - RITA RUGAMBWA

As we commemorate the genocide against the Tutsi for the 17th time, Contact fm came into contact with a young lady who is a survivor of the genocide and hers is a hopeful and moving story. Her name is Rita Rugambga. In 1994 when the genocide struck, she was six years old, the eldest in a family of three children. Her whole family had left her home at Musambira in Kamonyi district to flee the killings. On the 21st of April, her family that included uncles and aunts chose to return as her father had said that the situation had been contained. Some members of her family were to perish under conditions she could never forget.

"One night, Dad came back and told us to go back home. He said that peace was restored. On arriving there, the situation had not changed, in fact, it was worse. All the male members of my family were undressed and made to sit on the floor. Even my little brother was made to sit in the group. My father had some work documents in his pocket and the killers said that these documents were correspondence with the Inkotanyi rebels. My little brother cried a lot and bothered us. He was thrown far away as the killers said he would die later. They then chased us after they killed our parents. We left the scene with other women "
After weeks of hiding in bushes and churches, Rita and the remaining members of her family were informed that the Rwandan Patriotic Army was in the corner and they were more than relieved.

"After the war we returned to Musambira in a refugee camp. My mother could not recover from the genocide. She spent much time in the hospital. I was the oldest child so I went in search for food near the camp. I started school and took care of my siblings while my mother stayed at the hospital for very long but she did not recover really. Life for her was confused. Nothing was going right. Gradually she recovered and started fending for us and I managed to finish primary school.  I proceeded to
high school and other children at home were also doing well. In high school, I was assisted By AERG,
an association of student survivors of the genocide. Our family met people who treated us like brothers, sisters or parents and they loved me. This gave me joy. I did well at school. "

After completing her high school education, she was again worried about her university prospects. An acquaintance she had met at AERG came to her aid and she is now in her third year at the University and she’s very hopeful of the future.

"I hope to finish my studies soon. I also have a chance now to generate an income.
At the end of university I hope to get a good job and have a family too. I no longer worry too much.


Rita works during the day and attends classes in the evening. Her story is as moving as is her strength and resilience.

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