Scattered testimony

Locating the Rwandan genocide in transnational witnessing

Authored by: Martina Kopf

Routledge Handbook of African Literature

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN:
eBook ISBN: 9781315229546
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter takes a look at how stories about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda have been filtering into the works of Kenyan writers since the turn of the century. 1 It tackles a body of writing that has gone largely unnoticed in academic work on genocide literature so far, namely fictional responses by African authors from countries with either direct borders to Rwanda, or from those that are home to a larger Rwandan diaspora. The stories these authors tell are not, or only in minor parts, set in Rwanda. Instead, they engage – often unexpectedly for the reader – with the legacy of the genocide through their representations of exile and displacement. The notion of witnessing is crucial to the analysis laid out in this chapter.

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