Known to the world as the Rwandan Genocide, the slaughter of some 800,000 Tutsis almost 15 years ago has left an entire generation of orphans tormented by their memories of the country’s horrifying blood let. They Once Were Children is the visual exploration of the country’s living victims who represent Rwanda’s halted future. These images try to portray this generation’s hopes in the midst of a life literally severed from its past, and how each day for these young men and women is shaped by the memories of this grisly time.
This is another step in a much larger body of work encompassing several inquiries into nations’ collective memories in post-genocidal or post-war society. This work seeks to understand contemporary manifestations of trauma in relation to memory. The urgency to the project is both political and humanitarian: what happens to the victims caught between “versions” of the past? What is their memory, therefore, and how does this effect reconciliation? They Once Were Children is the second chapter of in that visual journey.