JKB Korczak Prize in Burundi: Encouraging peace

Published on the blog Korczak.info, by Joël Hakizimana, IJKnews, May 20th 2008.

Read the call by Joël Hakizimina, to reach it scroll down and click on :

  • “JKB Korczak Prize in Burundi, encouraging peace”: [PDF 113 Ko, 3 pages]);
  • [French] “Le prix Korczak du Burundi, un encouragement à la paix”: [PDF 131 Ko, 3 pages]).

I am a Burundian political refugee that lives in Switzerland since March 1989. I am a 28 year-old companion and father of a 15 months son. I was born in Burundi, in East Africa, South of Rwanda and when I was 9, my father had gone twice in jail as a political prisoner, tortured… and my mother had gone once in prison with one of my brother that was only 5 months. My family had been persecuted because my father was a journalist that did his job well, but in a context of dictatorship … When he escaped from prison in 1988 with other journalist, they came in Europe to say what was happening there in Burundi, then came back home, took his wife and five children and our exile begun.

I grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, where I experienced a new culture in a new society. At the age of eighteen, I was at high school and my brain was in strong activity because of thoughts I had about my origins and situation of a Black guy in a White land. I was good in drawing and literature. When I heard about a literature prize in children’s rights, I thought it was my moment to concourse and express my thoughts through a Swiss literary prize. It was the Swiss Janusz Korczak Prize in Children’s Rights.

I presented three works: a play Michel & Viviane that was the African translation of Romeo & Juliet involved into an ethnic struggle. The second work was a tale about Africa seen as a woman that had suffered of five century of violence against her body and children. Mother Africa gave birth to Spes, her child to whom she would recount her so long History so that the child would be able to diagnose the causes of Mother Africa’s heartbreak. The third work I presented for the literary prize was a comic strip describing the situation of civil war in Burundi compared to a chess play where none is a hero and every player is being putted in check by the adversity … (full long text, May 20, 2008).

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