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An intriguing documentary about the genocide in Rwanda


Jeroen Janssen

In the early 1990s, Jeroen Janssen moved to Rwanda, where he taught at the Ecole d’Art in Nyundo. In 1994 the darkest period in Rwanda’s history began: the genocide in which many hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Janssen escaped to Belgium with his family, but Rwanda did not release its hold on him. When writing ‘Abadaringi’ he spoke with his former students, acquaintances and friends who had survived the horror. Some of them stayed in Rwanda, while others spread out all over the world.

Complex, intriguing and unsettling. A tour de force

In essence, ‘Abadaringi’ is a sketchbook. Janssen draws the landscapes and settings he encounters, in colour and in black and white, and creates portraits of the people he speaks to. He also tells his own story, in handwritten notes. The refugees of yesteryear talk about the war, about the murders, about who did not survive, but rarely in a dramatic way. In Janssen’s documentary drawings, we can see how they live now, and as a reader you can sense the emotions bubbling away beneath the surface in the people Janssen portrays. A phenomenal piece of journalism.

His most personal and at the same time most universal book
De Standaard