A life-changing shoebox

A life-changing shoebox

As Alex Nsengimana knelt on the cool, tiled floor of Kigali prison, he faced a stark moment of truth. Could he offer forgiveness to the man who had once brutally killed members of his family?

His thoughts returned to the nightmare he had faced 19 years before. Even though he was just five years old on 6 April 1994, Alex would never forget the morning when the plane carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down. The president’s assassination sparked a wave of violence that consumed Rwanda, and shocked the rest of the world.

Alex never knew his father, and his mother died of AIDS-related illness when he was aged four. When the genocide struck, Alex’s remaining family were among the first Tutsi victims to be targeted, when Hutu militia stormed their house one afternoon. Alex, Lillian, and their brother, Fils, watched through a window in horror while their grandmother was tortured and killed.

Several days later a group of men with guns came looking for his uncle, Ka...

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