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​The fisherwomen of Lake Kivu for a new Rwanda

· From the world ·

“Here we go! May God watch over us!”. It’s a refrain that is a tradition here on Lake Kivu, where for generations men have cast off at sunset on small wooden boats to fish through the night.For some time, however, women’s voices have been added to those of men. In her delightful reportage which came out a few weeks ago in the New York Times, Shannon Sims told of the battle (won) by Rwandan women, who represent 70 per cent of the population in a country decimated by genocide, to have access to a sphere until then claimed solely by men – fishing. “I am very tired when I come back” after a night on the water, 32-year-old Zawadi Karikumutina recounted. “Now”, and she is echoed by Bonifrida Mukabideri, “a woman can say: I can build a house by myself. I can look after my family properly. And even if my husband dies, we can live a better life”. Difficulties and dangers are obviously not lacking; this is why the fisherwomen have gathered in cooperatives which help them in every way, from caring for their children to their safety during their turns on the water, even to the point of helping them with the sale of their catch. Lake Kivu, moreover, is not only one of the great African lakes. It has become the dramatic symbol of the Rwandan genocide ever since its waters were invaded by the bodies of the victims of hatred.

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St. Peter’s Square

March 25, 2019

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