Weep Not, Refugee by Marie-Thérèse Toyi

a nutshell: this novel follows the endless trials of a Tutsi boy, Wache Wacheke Watachoka (‘Let Them Laugh, They Will Eventually Get Tired and then Keep Quiet’), who was born in a refugee camp to a Hutu teenager raped while she fled Burundi

a line: “Nothing is static under the sun. Rain goes back to clouds, dust feeds life and returns to dust, a refugee goes back home, and a free man goes into exile.”

an image: at one moment, the child viscerally depicts their country as having vomited the refugees out of its bosom, with machetes & bullets, giving their new host nothing to love in them

a thought: there were so many aspects of this book that piqued my curiosity – from the dedication to Mr Bill Clinton to the observations about conceptual/practical intelligence (fluent in speaking French but could they eat a language?) to the eloquence with which Toyi writes of how a nose shape could trigger enmity

a fact: in 2018 I interviewed Burundian journalists running a radio station in exile while I was working with the Rory Peck Trust (under the org’s old management, I hasten to add) and was seriously moved by their stories – you can read the interview via PDF

want to read Weep Not, Refugee? visit here*

(*Sorry for linking to Amazon Kindle – it’s the only edition I could find)

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