Essay about An African Sermon: Rwanda Genocide

Essay about An African Sermon: Rwanda Genocide

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During the 20th century, Africa was a land of trouble, especially in South Africa and in Rwanda. In between 1948 and 1994, it was the apartheid in South Africa. All the white people were segregated from the black people; each race had their own systems of education, leisure and public transports. The Rwandan Genocide took place in 1994 (April-July) and killed 1’000’000 people. The Hutus and the Tutsis, two different tribes from Rwanda, were segregated and even killed. The Hutus killed the Tutsis and the moderate Hutus, those who were sympathetic to Tutsis. These two genocides can be linked in one word: discrimination.
The short story ‘’An African Sermon’’, written by Damon Galgut, is settled in the late 90’s, post-apartheid Africa, in a train from Pretoria to Cape Town. The protagonist, Douglas Clarke is a young man who is going to move in a small town on the west coast to join a congregation in a coloured church. During his journey, he meets an African American called Leonard Sagatwa who tells him his story linked with the Rwandan Genocide. Leonard’s family and himself were Tutsis, therefore were the target of the Hutus. He had a Tutsi wife and his brother, Pascal Sagatwa had a Hutu wife. After a while, Pascal decided to change his tribe from Tutsi to Hutu in order to be safer as the situation in Rwanda was critical. He hided Leonard and his family in his house and took care of him. As the time passed, his brother became more cruel and angry with Leonard for not giving him any money. He, then, raped and killed all of his family but, luckily, Leonard escaped. Douglas remains shocked after hearing the story, he tries to make Leonard forget. The day after, he arrives to Cape Town and goes to his church to tell his ...


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... forgive other people, it’s even more difficult to forgive yourself. Through the statement Leonard does ‘’What I think about, more than anything is my brother. How he could have done that. To me, to my mother and father’’, we can see he regrets his acts and can’t forgive himself, still not completely sure why he did this.
To conclude, I reckon this story gives an important summary of the human nature, especially concerning the fact of forgiveness and naivety. Humans are full of prejudices and judgments that separate some people, but, at the end of the day, there is a good part in the heart of everyone. Douglas is a strong protagonist living under Catholics values, therefore he forgives and is friendly to everyone. The old man was ashamed when he realized Leonard was actually a good man and Leonard feels remorse for what he did as shown previously.

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