The story of the Rwandan genocide will always have many angles the expatriates and the locals, but who’s telling the truth?
It is always said that we should tell our own stories before expatriates become experts at them. And it is something Red Hills, an adaptation of ‘Dogs of Rwanda’ by Sean Christopher Lewis that was written by Deborah Asiimwe seems to dwell on.
Red Hills, a production of Tebere Art Foundation has for the past for weeks been showing at the Design Hub a multipurpose space in the Industrial area.
Influenced by the playwright’s interest in varying cultures and history, Red Hills brings the Rwanda genocide to life in ways many have not seen before.
The play that premiered in New York before Kampala presents the ordeal of David Zosia, played by Bint Kasedde, an American author forced to relive his genocide experience with Nuwamanya Amon’s character, God’s blessing, a Rwandan Tutsi, who called out latter for a selective memory and misrepresenting event in a memoir he wrote, years later.
Haunted by the indiscretions of their actions, Zosia was reluctant to travel with God’s blessing to North and South of Kigali, where all the atrocities, including killing a boy in self-defense transpired.
With creative use of stage transitions, the actors take you through a life of agony, tears, love and betrayal.
The tight-lipped audience is glued to the blue dim lit stage shadowed by the scenic hills of Rwanda backdrop.
With conviction, the audience watched; God’s blessing, in his tourguide uniform and bag on his shoulder, breaking down an already known story but in a whole different angle.
Nuwanya, 27 was born in Southern Uganda with close proximity to Rwanda, identifies with the genocide story. It was thus easy, for God’s blessing to articulate emotional connection with the story.
“I was born around that time that the genocide happened, it wasn’t so hard for me to connect to God’s blessing, and because he is somebody I identify with. I was born in 1992, genocide happened in 1994, if I was born in Rwanda, which was very close, I do not know where I would be today. I know there are many boys and girls born around that time in Rwanda who did not survive the genocide, it was very easy and close to me,” he says.
He depicts the suffering endured by the minority in Rwanda, at a time when machettes and knives were the rule of law.
Ridden with blame, cursing the time and bushes in which he hid as the people he once called neighbours slayed his mother and sister.
The story climaxes with a revelation by God’s blessing’s on how he copes with the unsurmountable loss he incurred.