For the memory of survivors

Monday April 15 2019


Jacque Nkinzingabo uses photography to document the experiences of genocide survivors. PHOTO: URUGWIRO  

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Touching base with peers, Jacque Nkinzingabo uses photography to bring forth images of genocide survivors.

The collection, “I am a savivor” which resurfaced at the recently concluded joint exhibition dubbed Mumasangano, from March 15 to April 5, brought together youth as Rwanda commemorates 25 years of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis.

As a survivor of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, the photographer embarked on a rare journey documenting the survivors’ experience.

“I realised how most youth are now grown ups and pursuing various careers in life, but lack a platform to share what they are today,” said Mr Nkinzingabo. Using photography, he thought of a way survivors could reconnect with the deceased.

“I am a savivor” encompasses portraits of youth now aged 25, who survived the genocide. These are displayed, with emulation of their resilience in life.

"It wasn’t easy letting them share their ambitions and became complex convincing them to pose for the photo shoots," added Mr Nkinzingabo.

For this, some of his subjects remain anonymous. These portraits are characterised by subjects, each adorned in quite rare attires, made out of blanket wraps.

To complement the photographs, but separated from the collection is a collection of letters, written by the youth.

Most of his subjects having accomplished their university studies, share what they are currently pursuing, and what they hope to achieve.

Though inspired from Rwandan life, the self-taught photographer prefers speaking to a broader audience, which he believes has at one point encountered similar tragedy, or been victim to related events.

Born 25 years ago in Nyarugenge district, Mr Nkinzingabo attended Kamuhoza Primary school and later completed his secondary education at Groupe Escolaire Rukomo in Gitarama district. He lost his father in the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis, and raised by his mother.

Though it wasn’t a well-earning career, photography is what he always looked up to since his early secondary school, and it later transformed his life.

With a strong passion about the value of documentation, out of his savings, Nkinzingabo further established the Kigali Centre of Photography in 2017.

The facility’s walls are adorned with photography works of Salo Galos, Alice Kayibanda, Jean Luc Habimana, Cyril Ndegeya, George Baryamwisaki and other regional and internationally experienced photographers.

With the recently concluded exhibition, Nkinzingabo is proud to state how more of a motivation it has been.

“Am in plans of broadening this concept, by capturing of more survivors’ experience from around the country, since it means a lot,” he states.

‘IAM a Savivor’, is to be exhibited in Colombia’s National Museum, Bogota in May this year according to Nkinzingabo.