Nijenahagera, Sylvestre

Nijenahagera, Sylvestre


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Interviewee Age

Born 1948, age 75

Interviewee Gender


Interviewee Ethnicity


Interviewee Occupation

former merchant and cultivate

Interviewee Level of Education in 1972

Completed 5th grade

Geographical Location(s) during the genocide


Current Geographical Location


Interview Date


Interviewer Name

Dr. Jeanine Ntihirageza, Northeastern Illinois University - Center for Genocide and Human Rights Research in Africa and the Diaspora (GHRAD)

Summary of Oral History

Oral history of Sylvestre Nijenahagera. After only four months of marriage, Sylvestre Nijenahagera said the 1972 Genocide of Burundi erupted and killings began to creep into his country. He evacuated Burundi in hopes of finding safety in Tanzania. He was sent back to Burundi because he said his name was written on a list of those who should be killed. He said due to a clerical error, he was marked as dead and this mistake saved his life. Nijenahagera escaped a brutal death by hiding on the roof of a church. He said without the help of the church, and a clerical error, he would not be alive today to share his story of survival.

Named Persons

Domine Banyankimbona, Joseph Martin, Abasango Klan, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza

Named Places

Burundi, Lake Tankia, Muzima, Nyamugari, Rutova (school), Kagomogo (school)

Length of Oral History


Language(s) of Oral History

Kurundi, English


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Nijenahagera, Sylvestre