Alphonse Nahimana*
AGE WHEN INTERVIEWED: 49
BORN: Butare, Rwanda
INTERVIEWED IN: Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: Oupa Nkosi
* Not his real name

In 1994, the year of the mass slaughter of the Tutsi in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists, Alphonse Nahimana* was a 24-year-old living in Kigali with the Tutsi mother of his two-year-old child. He was the youngest of six children, identifying as ‘mixed race’, since his mother was Tutsi and his father, a Hutu farmer. All his family members had died in the genocide or in the refugee camps in Burundi or the Congo, save one brother who, he would later discover, was alive and in jail in Rwanda. After the genocide, Nahimana traversed the continent, trying to create a life for himself. He finally arrived in South Africa in 2001.

     I do not understand why God lets bad things happen to human beings. And then we read the Bible and we hear from the preachers and pastors that we are all equal, but then I go to sleep under the Mandela Bridge and someone else goes to sleep in Sandton? Then you tell me we are equal? Inequality is an example of what affects my faith. It’s a question I have. Where is God when something bad is happening?

     No one would wish to be in a foreign country when your country is peaceful and stable and you can do whatever you do in your country. You can be poor, but you are poor in your country, in your homeland, in your house.