Gaël Faye – ‘Kwibuka’ (Feat. Samuel Kamanzi)

How do you write a song in remembrance to a genocide? Gaël Faye was born and raised in Bujumbura/ Burundi, but he has strong family ties to Rwanda as his mother is Rwandan. On his new album, he dedicates a song to the annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. ‘Kwibuka‘ is Kinyarwanda and means ‘to remember’.

“Tuzahora tubashimira tubazirikana
Tubibuka mubihe byiza twagiranye
Tuzahora tubahesha agaciro
Tubibuka n’ubupfura bubaranga
Je rêve de vous (kwibuka)”

We will always thank them and remember them
We remember the good times we had
We will always value them
We remember it with the goodwill that characterizes them
I dream of you (Kwibuka)

Gaël Faye (‘Petit Pays‘ & ‘Bouge à Buja‘) is an exceptionally gifted poet and lyricist. In the lyrics of ‘Kwibuka‘ he and Samuel Kamanzi succeed to give space to insurmountable pain and grief but likewise find expressions of hope and resilience. The song remembers the souls that were lost, but also acknowledges the incredible achievement of post-genocidal reconstruction and reconciliation.

“Au-dessus d’ces collines s’élève ma voix à jamais
Ô mon petit pays, ô Rwanda bien-aimé
Un million de gouttes d’eau qui tombent de terre en ciel
Un million de nos tombes en trombes torrentielles
De nos fosses profondes à nos points culminants
Nous sommes debout maintenant les cheveux dans le vent
À conjurer le sort qu’un désastre englouti
À se dire qu’on est fort, qu’on vient de l’infini”

Above these hills rises my voice forever
Oh my little country, oh beloved Rwanda
A million drops of water falling from earth to sky
A million of our graves in torrential waters
From our deep pits to our peaks
Now we are standing with our hair in the wind
To ward off the fate that a disaster engulfed
To say that we are strong, that we come from infinity

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