Kiiza’s Story

Being a refugee is not some thing any one can wish for, however situations make it happen. Despite the fact that Africa has vast territory and rich natural resources, the long-time colonial rule, the political unrest in many countries after independence, and the stagnant economic development have been deteriorating the situation over the years. The combination of the above has caused many conflicts which have not only contributed to a large number of refugees who are forced to flee their home country, but also left many civilians homeless in their own country.

This is the story of 26-year old Kiiza John, a refugee from Rwanda. Kiiza attended English classes at MRASA. Born in Kigali, Kiiza John is the last born of the three children of their parents. Most of us know very well the 1994 Genocide which started in Rwanda where an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days. The genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down above Kigali airport on 6 April 1994. Kiiza’s parents were among those who were massacred in the onslaught.

Kiiza remembers very well that night following the news of the death of president Habyarimana; they were having family dinner when they heard people knocking on the door. The uninvited visitors where Hutu militias who came to the house demanding his father to produce guns, his father told them that they have knocked on the wrong house, he does not possess any gun or anything of that sort.

That was the last day he would share dinner with his father. Kiiza remembers seeing the man who raised a machete, cut his mother in order to force the father reveal what they have ordered him. In per suit to safe guard his wife, Kiiza’s father’s hand was slashed off, and that is when the cutting spree started. On the table, there was Kiiza, both his parents and a maid. Lucky enough for Kiiza, he was sitting on the chair next to his mother.

After killing his father, his mum was hit on the neck and the back with machetes, she fell on Kiiza, which forced the chair to break, and in that wrangle, the maid was also slashed and she fell on top of both Kiiza and his mother. Due to plenty of blood which had covered the whole room, they thought that every one is dead.

They then left the house and went on their hunting spree. For Kiiza, due to what happened, he lost consciousness and only came to his senses when he was in the hospital which was established in the field, that is when he realised that part of his leg was cut and the doctors where nursing his wounds. After some time, with the pain of his wound increasing, Kiiza got a chance to escape to Uganda in the refugee camps where his leg was treated for two years

He states that it took him years to come in turns with himself following what happened to his beloved parents on the last dinner he will never forget as long as he lives. Kiiza, who now lives in South Africa, says that he has been in a number of camps in different countries but life was so un-fair to him. He states that due to uncertainty and not settling in one place, he never had a chance to go back to school.

The story of Kiiza is one among millions, where people have passed through hell to be alive today. When asked what keeps him going even after passing through such a horrible situation, he just says that what happened that night makes him believe and trust God for everything; he believes that if you trust God, then thing will always work out in your favour.

As narrated by Kiiza to MRASA