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Surviving atrocity: Event marks 25th anniversary of Tutsi genocide

Portrait of a woman looking into the camera.

Photo: Concordia UCS

News release details

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) will mark the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi people in Rwanda with a special, free event tomorrow night featuring Rwandan-born Lisa Ndejuru, who has dedicated herself to helping survivors of mass atrocity and dislocation.

Photo: David Ward

During a 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July of 1994, an estimated 800,000 Tutsi were killed in Rwanda. April is also Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month, as proclaimed by Canada’s Parliament in 2015.

Ndejuru is an artist and scholar at Concordia University in Montreal who has worked for over two decades with the Rwandan diaspora community in Canada, as well as people from other backgrounds who suffered large-scale political violence and genocide, including Cambodians, Armenians and Jews. Her own family was traumatized and dislocated by successive waves of violence in Rwanda. She was raised in Germany from the age of two and came to Canada as a teenager.

Ndejuru organizes arts-based projects that help heal and empower survivors. A skilled practitioner of Playback Theatre, in which audience members tell stories from their lives and watch them enacted on the spot, she is also certified in Moreno Psychodrama, where clients use spontaneous dramatization and role playing to gain insights into their own lives. Ndejuru is also a trainer and core member of the Winnipeg-based Vidaview Life Story Board, an innovative, visual therapy tool for counsellors and researchers.

WHAT: Event to mark 25th anniversary of Tutsi genocide

WHEN: Wednesday, April 3, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: CMHR, Bonnie & John Buhler Hall, 85 Israel Asper Way

Representatives from Winnipeg’s Rwandan-Canadian community will also make brief introductory remarks.

Representatives of the CMHR will also participate and speak during an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 8 in commemoration of the genocide along with the Rwandan-Canadian community, survivors and witnesses, parliamentarians and Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire. Dallaire was the Canadian commander of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force in Rwanda who tried to warn and alert the UN to stop the genocide in 1994. His flak jacket is on display in an exhibit about the genocide in the CMHR, which includes video clips of interviews with survivors and Dallaire. The CMHR is also working on a new film about the atrocity that will play later this year in its Breaking the Silence Theatre on Level 4.

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Maureen Fitzhenry