More than one million Rwandans, including children and expectant mothers, were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Several films that talk about the gruesome tragedy that took place in the Genocide have been released, with the latest being Léopold Gasigwa’s.
The 58 minutes-long film, Urantokoza, loosely translated as “foreign object in the eye”, reveals how children were brutally killed, and the dehumanisation nature parents encountered in the presence of their children.
The documentary will be out in March 2020, along with a book that tells the same story. Urantokoza features testimonies of Genocide survivors, who were 14 years at the time, Genocide convicts who are serving their sentences, parents, whose children were killed during the massacres, soldiers who played a major role in the liberation war, and some of the places where children were killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Gasigwa, 39, is a survivor who lost his family during the Genocide. He is the brains behind the, Izingiro ry’amahoro documentary that scooped an award for the ‘Best Documentary’ in the Rwanda Movie Awards 2016.
Retired Col. Eugene Ruzibiza narrates what children faced during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Courtesy
“These are the things we experienced. What inspired me to do this film is to tell the story of what children aged 14 years and below experienced in 1994 Genocide, and how parents whom they trusted for rescue were also dehumanised in their face,” Gasigwa told The New Times.
He added: “The idea of this film came to me in 2004 when we had gone to commemorate in in Nyarubaka Sector, Kamonyi District, where more than 80 children (boys specifically) were killed by throwing them alive in a long pit.”
“The perpetrators laid sand in that pit, even forcing parents of those children to do the same. The children were decrying, ‘a foreign object in their eyes’ (Urantokoza), without knowing what was really happening. This is where I even got the title, Urantokoza, he continued.
Preserving our history ‘a responsibility’
“I did this as a way to play my role in the preservation of Rwanda’s tragic history. This will help in telling the true story to Genocide deniers, especially those in exile, and the governments that accord them refuge,”Gasigwa said.
He added that the preservation of Rwanda’s history is the responsibility of every Genocide survivor, though all of us can’t do documentaries, but there are other things we can do, like writing books that recount Rwanda’s history.”