Baylor University Institute for Oral History

Gilbert Tuhabonye

Baylor University Institute for Oral History
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0:24 - Growing up Fuku

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Subjects: learning stories from his grandmother, family owning lots of cows, earning his nickname Tumagu , running, fetching water

7:22 - Stories passed down 8:59 - Memories of school

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Subjects: running, dehydration, attempting to take sugar crops

13:17 - Activities at home

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Subjects: playing soccer, growing up around cows, bashingantahe (local group of elders that maintain justice), riding a banana, playing the game "kick the lion," playing hide and seek

18:20 - Hunting with his family

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Subjects: hunting deer, gazelles, and monkeys, pygmies eating meat

20:23 - Growing up in the Church

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Subjects: going to an Italian Catholic school, wanting to be a priest or go to seminary school, religion class, family of mixed religious practices, attending church every day, friends at church, selecting his confirmation name


Hyperlink: Jean-Claude Van Damme
27:37 - Influence from his older brother

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Subjects: older brother going to college, seeing his brother get shoes for the first time, family in the city, privileges with education


Hyperlink: Kinyarwanda
31:25 - Attending school in Kibimba

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Subjects: selecting preferences for university, riding in a car for the first time, inspiration from uncle living in Bujumbura, Lake Tanganyik, seeing a shower for the first time


Hyperlink: Bujumbura
37:48 - Impressions of Kibimba

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Subjects: making friends, starting school

39:22 - Tribal Differences in Rwanda

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Subjects: Twa, Hutu, Tutsi, Pygmy, as a child not noticing differences between Hutu and Tutsi, respect and sharing between each other, Twa tribal differences, Tutsi owning land and cattle, Hutu working for Tutsi people


Hyperlink: Ethnic groups in Rwanda
43:00 - School experiences in Kibimba

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Subjects: making friends with older students, connections with teachers, learning at boarding school, fun memories with friends

46:11 - Beginning Competitive Running

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Subjects: inspiration from coach, running track and wining awards, playing drums, practicing leadership, playing handball, travelling with competitions

50:53 - Tensions in Rwanda build

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Subjects: learning that Hutu have killed Tutsi, privilege to study and serve in the library, the election of 1993


Hyperlink: Melchior Ndadaye
55:25 - Coup in Rwanda October 1, 1993

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Keywords: "Today is this. I’m going to cut your throats.”

Subjects: Radio being disconnected, Coup in Rwanda, mistreatment by instructor


Hyperlink: Death of Rwandan President
60:43 - Action at school in the wake of the Coup

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Keywords: "And it was Hutu that went on the radio and said, 'Revenge. Everywhere you see a Tutsi, a child—a baby, a grownup—eliminate.' ”

Subjects: taking teachers away to burn them, mob wanting to attack the school, headmaster wanting to crucify Gilbert

63:53 - Organizing an escape from the school

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Subjects: leaving belongings behind, organizing a run to an army camp Mwaro, deciding to make a peaceful walk with no weapons in hand

65:47 - Mob attacking Gilbert and his companions

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Subjects: Being held hostage by a mob, throwing spears, shooting arrows

67:58 - Taking Tutsis to be burned alive

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Keywords: "Outside, they are screaming. They are chopping off the ears of kids. They are hitting machetes in their necks. They are beating the kids. I’m terrified."

Subjects: Tutsis being tied together to be burned alive, Gilbert being placed in isolation after Headmaster decides he wants to crucify him, Gilbert being stripped of his belongs and clothing, beating children to paralyze them

71:59 - Killing the Tutsis

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Subjects: mass murder of school children

74:08 - After the massacre

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Subjects: soldier comes and finds Gilbert still alive

76:32 - Escaping from the sight of the massacre

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Keywords: "And finally, I’m like, You know what? I’m going to die outside. If they kill me—if they chop off my head—fine. At least, my parents when they come to get—to see a piece of me, they’ll be able to see a piece of Gilbert."

Subjects: escape, being chased by guards, planned parts of genocide, dangers of ignorance

85:32 - Encounter with a pack of Hutus

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Subjects: women giving him water and jacket, lying about his ethnicity, Hutus measuring Gilbert's nose, forehead, ankles and hands


Hyperlink: Rumonge
85:32 - Escape to a hospital

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Keywords: hiding in a maternity room in a hospital, avoiding soldiers who think he is an inhuman devil, soldiers attacking the hospital, reuniting with a classmate, killing young girls

90:43 - Being taken to an army hospital

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Subjects: Family holding a funeral for Gilbert until someone tells them that Gilbert is in fact alive, older brother transferring him to a closer hospital, reuniting with his parents

92:05 - Reflecting on genocide while in the hospital

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Subjects: forgiving in order to move on, finding joy in running

94:16 - Reaction to further trouble around the world

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Subjects: current trouble in Burundi, starting a foundation to help Rwandans

95:40 - Returning to Rwanda

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Subjects: Going back to Rwanda in 2011, learning about planned genocide, meeting those who rescued him, returning to the place where he almost died, what can you do to prevent genocide

97:34 - Telling his story

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Subjects: attempting to kill himself while in the fire, hearing a strong voice within himself

99:29 - Concluding in Song