Pierre-Claver Ndacyayisenga was a history teacher in Kigali when he was forced to flee to the neighbouring Congo (Zaïre) with his wife and three children. Thus began a harrowing five-year voyage of 9781926824789 low ressurvival during which they travelled thousands of kilometers on foot from one refugee camp to another. Lacking food and water, they were often robbed, sometimes raped but were constantly pursued and bombed by shadowy Rwandan-backed armed soldiers with sophisticated weapons and aerial surveillance information. He and his family were among the more than three hundred thousand refugees who, for the most part, did not survive to tell their story.
Dying To Live is an ode to the human capacity to survive against all odds. Pierre-Claver Ndacyayisenga brilliantly and touchingly tells a story that has been silenced for too long. It will help restore the humanity and the right to mourn to hundreds of thousands of Rwandans dispersed throughout the world.
Ndacyayisenga's memoir offers an important look at a piece of African history that most of the world was unaware of, or chose to ignore, while it was happening. Forced to flee his native Rwanda with his family in the wake of the civil war in the mid-1990s, Ndacyayisenga recounts his experiences over five years of flight as a refugee across the Congo. He describes the horrors of this time as hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees were hounded and hunted by Rwandan troops, suffered through hunger, disease, the danger of wild animals, and the social and economic pressures they faced along the way. The book follows their journey, with sections describing each major stop by the group of refugees at different communities throughout the Congo and the tragic events that caused them to flee again. Ndacyayisenga reports the violence that the refugees faced and the story is inherently dramatic, but he writes it in an almost dispassionate, resigned way, which may reflect the way refugees learn to cope. The book is informative for readers interested in refugee issues, but it will have a broader appeal to those interested in history and justice.