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“No one would meet my eyes”: meet the Rwandan genocide survivor who returned home to forgive her neighbours

When Denise Uwimana made the decision to forgive her Hutu neighbours, some of the other survivors called her a traitor. But 25 years after the Rwandan genocide, she says the act of forgiveness can heal—and has now written a book to tell her story

By Suchandrika Chakrabarti  

Denise Uwimana has written a book, From Red Earth, to tell the story of the Rwandan genocide. Photo: Courtesy of the author

Three months after witnessing the 1994 Rwandan genocide—and seeing her own relatives murdered in front of her—Denise Uwimana returned to her hometown of Bugurama and publicly forgave her Hutu neighbours.

Leaving her parents’ home in the relatively safe capital, Kigali, Uwimana took her three small sons (the third of whom was born on the day the killings began) and went back to the ransacked house she’d fled…

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