Guy Leonce

I don’t feel foreign at all. Newspapers portray Nørrebro jokingly as the “black hole”, but for me it is a nice place, where Danes and foreigners meet, and where something new emerges. A flawed language adorned with English expressions that everyone understands.

From 1938, citizens of Rwanda were issued Belgian identity cards. These cards stated the ethnicity of all citizens and this has played a major role in the power struggle between the two main ethnic groups, hutus and tutsis. The civil war began in Rwanda in 1994. In 1972 my mother’s father was killed by extremist Tutsis in Burundi. When the civil war broke out she lost her Tutsi mother and siblings, and then we fled. I was just ten and could not understand what the war was really about. Did it matter if one was Tutsi or Hutu? Wasn’t everyone the same?

I didn’t realise that there are ignorant people and extremists on both sides. I do now, but I still insist that people first and foremost are human beings, and I would not define myself or others by their particular ethnicity. I believe that education and information are necessary if one wants to prevent something similar from happening again. Genocide is not a part of Rwandan culture, but it all happened because of the social and political circumstances in the country. There has been no reconciliation in Rwanda, unlike for example in South Africa, so I am not interested at all in returning.

32 years / male / single / interpreter / Dragør / from Rwanda / came to Denmark in 1996 / residence permit in 1997