Joseph Ngoga returned home one evening in 1994 to find his entire family slaughtered by his own neighbours and friends. By the end of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis, the 16-year-old had lost almost all of his extended family, witnessed horrors that still give him nightmares, and survived by pretending to be a Hutu.
Stefan Carter was 14 when he and his emaciated mother in the Warsaw Ghetto were ordered by the Nazis to march to a selection site, where his mother was forced on a train to the Treblinka death camp. He later survived the Holocaust by pretending not to be Jewish.
Winnipeggers who survived the Rwandan genocide and their families will hold a free afternoon of sharing and discussion at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) on Saturday, April 9 at 1:30 p.m., moderated by CBC Radio host Terry Macleod. April 7 officially marks the 22nd anniversary of the genocide that saw a million ethnic Tutsi people murdered in 100 days. The event will also include the story of Carter as a Holocaust survivor.
April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, as designated by a unanimous vote in Canada's Parliament last year. Ngoga and Carter will share their stories about two different atrocities with common threads of violation, denial and displacement. The message: When human rights are violated, there is always pressure to cover it up. But silence and denial help the oppressors, setting the stage for more violations. When survivors and their allies speak out, the cycle can be broken.
Malaïka Brandt-Murenzi, a 20-year-old university student, will speak about her experiences as the Canadian-born daughter of a survivor. She has twice visited Rwanda and will share what she has learned and her hopes for the future.
WHAT: Event to mark anniversary of Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis
WHEN: Saturday, April 9, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: CMHR (MTS Classrooms), 85 Israel Asper Way
NOTE: On Thursday, April 7 at 9:30 a.m., Ngoga, Brandt-Murenzi and her father, Évasio Murenzi, will be available for photos and interviews in the CMHR's Breaking the Silence gallery, where the story of the Rwandan genocide is displayed, along with a flak jacket from Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, who led the UN Peacekeeping force in Rwanda.