Exhibition helps survivors of Rwandan Genocide

Rwandan genocide exhibition in Hackney.   Photo: Kyriaki Theochari

Rwandan genocide exhibition in Tower Hamlets. Photo: Kyriaki Theochari

The 1994 Rwandan Genocide is the theme of the exhibition “Heroes of our Time: Rwandan Courage and Survival” at Oxford House in Bethnal Green. The walls are filled with photographs and testimonies of four  survivors of the genocide: Simeon Karamaga, Daphrose Mukangarambe, Cassien Mbamba and Ange Cendrine Mukayites.

Each portrait, taken by photographer Andrew Sutton, of the survivors of the 1994 slaughter is accompanied by a written testimony of their harrowing experiences. Daphnose Mukangarambe lost her five children and her husband during the genocide, leaving physical and psychological scars  easily discernible on her portrait. She is blind in one eye. Since then, released prisoners have confessed to killing the inhabitants of her town and told her where her two older children are buried. She explains that she cannot get over the grief and sorrow of losing her children. She says the scars on her face are the legacy of the genocide, which she sees everytime she looks in the mirror.

The exhibition is backed by  Tower Hamlets Council and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

David Russel, director of SURF, the charity which helps survivors of the genocide, said  it was important to that society learnt from crimes against humanity to help communities live peacefully in the present. He emphasised the importance of such exhibitions for ethnic minorities living in Tower Hamlets and elsewhere in the UK

The last part of the exhibition shows the humanitarian work of SURF, which helps survivors based in Rwanda and UK to rebuild their lives.

The pictures by photographer Andrew Sutton are the fruit of ten years’ labour, they were presented two months before at LSE, and are now hosted at Oxford House until the end of January.

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