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Eyewitness Testimony: Mary “Fifi” Mukangoga


CHANTAL: I met Fifi in town during the war. We went together to hide at the prefecture office… where we hoped we would be killed by guns… but not by machetes.

They gathered us in a big house and raped us all together. Those who refused were killed. Four different people raped me. By the end I wished for death, but death would not come.

I, myself, saw Fifi raped during the war. That is how she was infected with HIV. It saddens me. We've already lost another close friend. And now Fifi is the last one in our group who is dying.

I'm sorry that she can't hear me very well and that she can't speak. Before she went to the hospital she came to me and asked… "Do you think I'll be alright?" I encouraged her and said… "Let's take you to the hospital and hope you'll be fine." I told her to have courage and that I would be behind her all the time. Those were the last words we ever spoke.

Mary "Fifi" Mukangoga, Victim, Rwanda

Fifi was 16 years old when the Rwandan genocide began in 1994.

As violence escalated in Butare, her hometown, she sought protection at a local government office with other Tutsi, including Chantal, who would become a close friend.

Government officials turned the Tutsi over to the killers, who repeatedly raped the Tutsi women and girls, including Fifi and Chantal. Those who resisted were killed.

The violence Fifi endured was her only sexual experience; it left her infected with HIV. Chantal tested negative for HIV, married, and is raising a family. Unable to afford medicine, Fifi became increasingly ill and Chantal cared for her. Fifi died of AIDS on February 14, 2003.