The book, ‘A lesson before dying’ is being used by the US Embassy Rwanda in its campaign to emphasize and build a culture of reading in Rwanda. The campaign called ‘Everybody Read- Rwanda’, aims to get as many people to read and discuss the same book as a community.
A lesson before dying, by African-American author Ernest Gaines, is about a young African-American man in a small community in 1940s Louisiana who is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The young man, called Jefferson, is wrongly convicted of murder that happened in a liquor store. Although he is innocent Jefferson is declared guilty and is to face execution by electric chair. His grandmother Miss Emma is not happy on because the judge called his grandson a ‘hog’. She asks Grant a teacher in the community to go and visit and teach Jefferson every day so that on the execution day he should die a man but not as a hog like the judge had described him.
The book highlights the evils of racism and segregation.
Through the ‘Everybody Read-Rwanda’ campaign, over 500 copies of this book have been distributed to secondary and university students, youth clubs, professors and journalists. The book discussions will be hosted in different cafes from May 14-25.