This book deals with literary representations of the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda. The focus is a transnational, polyphonic writing project entitled 'Rwanda: écrire par devoir de mémoire' (Rwanda: Writing by Duty of Memory), undertaken in 1998 by a group of nine African authors. This work emphasizes the Afropolitan cultural frame in which the texts were conceived and written. Instead of using Western and Eurocentric tropes, this volume looks at a so-called 'minority trauma': an African conflict situated in a collectivist society and written about by writers from African origin. This approach enables a more situated study, in which it becomes possible to draw out the local notions of ubuntu, oral testimonies, mourning traditions, healing and storytelling strategies, and the presence of the 'invisible'. As these texts are written in French and to date not all of them have been translated into English, most academic research has been done in French. This book thus assists in connecting English-speaking readers not only to a set of texts written in French with significant literary and cultural value, but also to francophone trauma studies research.
Dr Anna-Marie de Beer is a senior lecturer in French and francophone studies at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She was born and grew up in Zimbabwe. Her research interests are the relationship between collective trauma and literature, as well as francophone autobiography and autofiction.
1. Introduction: Leaning on the Shoulder of Another.- 2. Trauma and Storytelling in Africa.- 3. Journeys and Fables: Koulsy Lamko and Véronique Tadjo.- 4. Harvests and Bones: Abdourahman A. Waberi and Boubacar Boris Diop.- 5. Living in Shadows: Monique Ilboudo and Tierno Monénembo.- 6. Poems, Testimonies and Essays: Nocky Djedanoum, Jean-Marie Rurangwa and Vénuste Kayimahe.- 7. Conclusion: The Mythical Universe of Storytelling.- 8. Afterword: Safe Spaces of Reconstruction.