Photo-exhibition “The Men Who Killed Me: The Strenght of Rwandan Genocide Survivors” / “De mannen die mij hebben vermoord: De kracht van Rwandese genocide overlevenden”
Based on the book of the same title, the photo-exhibition “The Men Who Killed Me” deserves special attention. This book is a collection of 17 testimonials of survivors of sexual violence of the genocide in Rwanda, illustrated with their portraits. Published in 2009 by Douglas & McIntyre (Canada), the book was edited by Anne-Marie de Brouwer (Chair of the Mukomeze Foundation) and Sandra Ka Hon Chu (member of the International Advisory Board, the Mukomeze Foundation). The Canadian photographer and lawyer, Samer Muscati, took the photographs for the book. Proceeds from the book go, through the Mukomeze Foundation, to Rwandan survivors of sexual violence. Moreover, in 2011 every person with testimonials in the book, received a sponsorship through the Mukomeze Foundation. In 2011 the book was published in Dutch by Wolf Legal Publishers under the title of “De mannen die mij hebben vermoord”. This book of testimonials and the photo-exhibition based on the photos contained in the book and supplemented with other photos of Samer Muscati, is being used effectively by the Mukomeze Foundation to illustrate the crimes of sexual violence in conflict situations, and the resulting impact on peoples lives. The stories and photographs of these survivors show not only the misery and pain that they have endured, but, in particular, also their strength and perseverance. The title of the book and the exposition are based on statements of some of the women interviewed for the book: it expresses a sense of feeling that is being shared by many of the survivors. Despite the horrors that the genocide survivors have endured in Rwanda, the work of the Mukomeze Foundation shows that attention, recognition and a helping hand can make a world of difference. Proudly we see how genocide survivors rebuild their lives again and regain hope for the future.
The Mukomeze Foundation has two black and white photo-exhibitions, with photographs by Samer Muscati, printed onto various sized canvases. Upon request, the photo-exhibitions can be rented for a small fee. The larger exhibition consists of 29 black and white photographs (on canvas) and five coloured banners, with accompanying texts plus videos. This exhibition was developed by National Monument Camp Vught, along with the Mukomeze Foundation, and was on display for two months early in 2011 at National Monument Camp Vught. The smaller exhibition consists of 20 black and white photographic canvases and accompanying texts. This exhibition was developed in 2009 by the Mukomeze Foundation for the 15th commemoration of the genocide. In 2013, we expanded the exhibition by adding also photos of their current lives and texts explaining how they are doing now. Where possible, the Mukomeze Foundation also provides an “in house” lecture along-with the photographic exhibition. The photographs by Samer Muscati are also available for sale. All proceeds from sales and rents go directly to the Mukomeze Foundation.
Contact us in case you are interested in the photo-exhibition or if you wish to buy a photo.
Below are some examples of the impact of our work on the lives of genocide survivors (between 2008 and 2016), who each receive a sponsorship from the Mukomeze Foundation. It is possible to include this additional information (photo and text) in the exhibition.
Marie Louise Niyobuhungiro (Born in 1975 (day and month unknown)
Situation in 2008: “Over five days, I was raped five times a day. The rapist didn’t say anything to me. In the forest, the local people often saw me being raped by this man. The local people, an Interahamwe militia man and other Hutu would watch the soldier rape me and did not even raise their little finger to stop it. They didn’t care, because I was Tutsi.”
Current situation: It is going well with Marie Louise and her four children, although she still has some trouble starting her own business, due to her recurrent trauma. However, she does receive an income by renting a part of her house. She hopes that she will be able to renovate her home soon, so that she will have access to water and electricity. She dreams of sending her children to the university, so that they will have a better future.
Marie Mukabatsinda (Born 22 October 1956)
Situation in 2008: “I want you to know that the horrors people inflicted during the genocide are more than any human being can endure. For a long time after, I despised myself for what had happened to me. I hated everything that surrounded me, because it reminded me of what I had lost. I used to think that I would rather be dead than living with HIV, but I have received comfort from a charity that also provides me with antiretroviral treatment and food. I know now that I can continue to live with HIV.”
Current situation: Marie cultivates cassava on the land. She dreams of having her own hairdresser salon. In a letter to her sponsor Marie wrote: “My life is getting better and better, because of you I have a future again.”
Ernestine Nyirangendahayo (Born 1981 (day and month unknown))
Situation in 2008: “One of them then said that I was too young to be raped – I was only thirteen years old at the time – but the other one said that even if I was too young, my vagina would not be. They told me that they would kill me after raping me. I saw that they had knives, so I begged them to stab me to death immediately. I wanted to die, but they said they would kill me only after they were finished with me.”
Current situation: Ernestine is doing really well. Ernestine now has her own coffee plantation, a house (she is currently living next to Faustin, a good friend and also a genocide survivor, see his picture in the exposition) and a cow (with the support of the cow-project of the Mukomeze Foundation). Her children are getting good results at school. Ernestine is sometimes still amazed by the fact that she is being supported by people who didn’t know her before. In a letter to her sponsor she wrote: “Thank you very much! I have become a different person because of you. You took me out of my loneliness. And the fact that you even came to visit me in my own house, was so special for me: it made me really happy. Because of that, I feel accepted in the community.”