Le Fils d’un Survivant
by Jean-Marie V. Rurangwa
This play was written in Bruxelles in November 1999, five short years after the Rwandan genocide and it is infused with the passionate need to recount those horrific events within the public forum of a staged story. In Act I, Bugabo and his fiancée Jeanne are planning their honeymoon following their upcoming marriage. It is the night when President Habyarimana’s plane is shot down and the terrifying genocidal atrocities begin, brutally interrupting the benign pleasures of this young academic couple. A former acadmic colleague arrives with the Hutu Power soldiers and explains all the motives of the genocide to Bugabo and Jeanne as he forces them to submit to his sadistic enactments. Bugabo is stabbed with a machete and Jeanne is taken off to be raped and burned alive. In Act II, Bugabo has been saved by a moderate Hutu named Habiyakare who saved many Tutsi’s and he is being nursed back to health. After 4 months (the genocide lasted 100 days) Bugabo awakens from amnesia and asks to be told what happened. Habiyakare explains to Bugabo in excruciating details everything that took place that night and to Bugabo’s family members over the following days. A former Belgian colleague invite’s Bugabo to come to Namur, Belgium to recuperate, renew his life and to find a way to dedicate his life to the memory of his lost loved ones. In Act III, Bugabo is in Belgium with other survivors, some who defend choosing a “non-life” of drink and drugs to forget the trauma they have experienced. Bugabo and his friends debate the need to carry on and tell the story. Bugabo confides that since his recovery he has been impotent with his Belgian wife Brigitte, because he still sees the flames around Jeanne but that Jeanne came to him in a dream and released him to love Brigitte and remake his life. That night they were able to consummate their marriage and even beget a child, Butera Bwa Bugabo. In Act IV, the community of Rwandans and Belgians celebrate the new boy as Bugabo narrates how his son will be a bridge between nations and races and a warrior for peace in the world.