Bugingo, who lost both her parents to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, noted that despite the loss of the family and relatives the tragic situation did not keep her down as others only to be encouraged and look forward to the future no matter what they are going through.

Bugingo who is a student, pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at Mount Kenya University in Rwanda was born and raised in Kigali where both her parents were killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and was raised by her grandmother and aunt.

Bugingo a name with a translation of ‘Life’ is a 25- year old and the author of ‘My Name my Life’ metamorphoses her near death experiences and life gained after tribulations.

She say, was born in November 1992 about 2 years before the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in a small nuclear family of mother father and brother.

Though, she had a large group of the extended families of aunties, uncles, grandparents and cousins .However, they all succumbed during genocide.

“My parents were entrepreneurs, working for themselves in town. They met and fell in love in October 1990, and married here in Kigali- Rwanda. My father grew up and spent most of his life in Uganda, where he attained his education,” she says.

She recalls the night of the 6th April when President Habyarimana’s plane crushed as the day the madness begun 7th of that month that was the day that killing started and nobody was allowed to leave their homes especially those who were targeted and as a result her father and mother stayed at home that day

“At that time we were not staying with our parents. As they were fearing to die with us,” she said

she say on 8th when interahamwe invaded Nyamirambo brutally killing everyone without mercy leaving no one behind. His father was apparently on “the list” and died with her mother.

“My grandmother heard the news and so she kept us through out and the whole journey of trying to survive. It was not easy to escape from machetes and gun fires for about 3 months with a 1yr(almost2) old baby and a 2 (almost 3) yrs. old baby,” she says.

My Grandmother raised us until this day she is still fighting and taking care of us. And this is my story of how I survived,” she adds.

Turning challenges into opportunities

she is a genocide survivor and cancer. The 25-year-old Karen Bugingo say launching her first Novel ‘My Name is Life’, a story detailing her struggles as a cancer patient until her recovery is a ‘life achievement’ that has opened doors as a writer.

His book is a result of the challenges she met in life from being a genocide survivor to a cancer survivor. “And after publication of ‘My Name is life’ a lot of the people came to know who I am,” she says.

A message to the young people

“As I was writing this story, I knew that I was encouraging the young people to also share their stories. “Always remember that the story you are writing is a seed that you are writing in someone’s life because you never know how much it will change their lives,” she says.

The cancer survivor, at the age of 19, was diagnosed with severe lymphoma (cancer) in her blood.

“I used to wonder why, at 19 years, I was battling cancer but this day tells me this is the reason I was suffering. I have given this book everything, my heart, my soul and today I see the good work and I’m happy and proud of myself.”

I look back at the nights when I almost gave up on the idea of writing my story. But, today my social media is full of young boys’ and girls’ messages telling me how they are fighting some cancer and other real life situations because of sharing my real life story. Writing this novel has taught me so much that I will use in future, she said.

The Express News


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