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An African Sermon: Rwanda Genocide Essay

982 words - 4 pages

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 sermon. There, he talks about the story of the two brothers and how Leonard tries to forgive him. A few months later, Douglas sees Mr.Sagatwa on TV again, he has handcuffs and is being taken into a police car. Under the image is written that Pascal Sagatwa, a major protagonist in the Rwandan Genocide, has been found and is being judged into court the next day. This shocks Douglas and changes him for a lifetime.
Through the entire piece, the author is trying to show us his opinion on human nature. He demonstrates the mistakes humans do during their lives, the prejudices we always have. One of the first things he argues about in the piece is racism, a problem that still remains unsolved nowadays. During the journey Douglas has, some racial discrimination is shown. At the beginning, an old man in the same compartment as Douglas tells him that he hopes there won’t be any blacks in the train. When the Leonard arrives, the old man is paying attention to Leonard’s...

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