Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version

October 2006


Published in Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice 18:4 (October 2006), pp. 515–521. Copyright © 2006 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission. DOI: 10.1080/10402650601030476


In 1994, Rwanda was the scene of genocide, or more precisely in French, “le théâtre du génocide” (theatre of genocide). Perpetrators and victims played their role while the rest of the world watched the “spectacle” live on television. Perhaps because of its spectacular aspect, the Rwandan genocide has inspired a number of artistic materials. In the last decade, we have indeed witnessed the growth of literary and artistic expression in relation to the Rwandan genocide. Survivors and witnesses have told their stories in books and songs. Journalists, as well as other travelers “to the end of Rwanda,” to use Véronique Tadjo’s words, have borne witness to the genocide. Artists who were not there have also attempted to represent the “African genocide” and have cast themselves as participating in the process of reconciliation. I am referring in particular to the African writers who published their work in the context of “Rwanda: Devoir de mémoire,” (“Rwanda: Duty to Remember”), a project where prominent writers were asked to visit Rwanda and “remain inresidence” with the expectation that they would write to generate creative responses to the genocide.