May 9, 2014

In 2005, Binyavanga Wainaina published a brilliantly sarcastic essay in Granta called “How to Write About Africa,” advising people on how to sound spiritual and compassionate while writing a book about the continent. “Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title,” Wainaina advised. 

The week leading up to the anniversary saw an onslaught of headlines about Rwanda, declaring it a peaceful and forgiving nation, a modernized and tech-savvy pioneer, and an Africa-gone-right success story. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, and there has been a global movement to remember and educate people about what happened.  Some survivors are sharing their painful memories in the United States, hoping students will listen and learn from what happened.

On a Saturday morning in late January, Russ Feingold descended a tight path in the hilly forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park to look for gorillas. The former Democratic senator from Wisconsin wore a long-sleeved safari shirt over a blue polo, a coiled bracelet to repel mosquitos, a surgical mask to protect the gorillas from human germs and two pairs of socks, with his zip-off cargo pants tucked into the outer pair to keep out ants.

Facebook is helping to roll out a pilot online education program in Rwanda, as part of its pitch to bring internet to the unconnected world. Dubbed SocialEDU, the new initiative was revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Monday and comes the same day as the social media giant's founder Mark Zuckerberg gives a keynote speech at the event.

The philanthropist Howard G. Buffett—eldest son of multibillionaire investor Warren Buffett—and Rwandan President Paul Kagame go back a long way. Buffett’s foundation has been active in Africa for years, investing more than $140 million in central Africa’s Great Lakes region, which includes Rwanda. Almost every time Buffett visits Africa, he stops by the Rwandan capital of Kigali to see Kagame.

The leaders of five East African countries have signed a protocol laying the groundwork for a monetary union within 10 years that they expect will expand regional trade. Heads of state of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, which have already signed a common market and a single customs union, say the protocol will allow them to progressively converge their currencies and increase commerce.

With her labor pains intensifying, Epiphanie Nyirankurikiyimana knew the time had come to leave for the health facility.
Rather than give birth at home without skilled care, the 25-year-old mother, pregnant with her second child, telephoned Immaculée Bampoyineza, the village community health worker who had educated her on the importance of prenatal care and developing a birth plan. Immaculée agreed to accompany Epiphanie to the health facility. Instead of waiting for local transport—four men carrying a sling—the women began the three-mile walk to the health center.