When things aren’t clearly stated, it can create complications and everything becomes difficult after that. Roland Rugero’s created a story in where an adolescent mute, tries to ask a young woman for directions “to an appropriate place to relieve himself”, meaning where was a place to use the restroom, but him unable to properly communicate, got mistaken for wanting to rape her. This created a lot of chaos for the young adolescent, Nyamuragi, the mute.
“The mute tries to smother her screams with his palm. She must calm down, shut up. He doesn’t want anything bad; he simply wants her to show him the latrines” (14).
The story was written based on how the people that lived in the province of Burundi had the ideals of how women were meant to serve and where women couldn’t be sexually active until they married. The fear of rape was very intense that parents wouldn’t allow their daughters go out alone, being understandable because six girls were raped in the last two months.
“For two months, the obsessive fear of rape has haunted this country’s women. Mothers make their little girls wear panties under their wraps when they go draw water and under their skirts when they go to school, when before they did not. Girls are required to go everywhere in groups” (15).
People heard of screams and struggles from what she thought was an attempt of rape, so they all ran towards her to try and help. That was when Nyamuragi had to run away because he knew they weren’t going to let him try and explain what happened. He decided to run away and once things were calm, he was going to return and explain himself. The only problem is that he can’t speak, and in their community if you run away from something, that makes you guilty. That’s when Nyamuragi started running away in fear.
“…, the one who runs is assumed guilty of one thing or another” (3).
“No words, no reprieve. He is guilty! His silence condemns him more than his acts. He was running out of instinct. Now he runs in fear” (16).
The people ran after him trying to make their own justice for what he has attempted to do to the young girl Kigeme, but how is it justice if Nyamuragi won’t be able to explain himself due to being mute. It creates a stigma of how justice supposed to be, but it is understandable on Kigeme’s and people’s reactions due to all the rapes that have been happening within the community the past two months. It also makes me think about how Rugero was able to create a story using art, leaving it to its audience to understand the imagery and it’s meaning behind it. Things like the one that happen to Nyamuragi do happen, and it makes me question how we see and take action when it comes to “justice” because justice can mean different things to different people. Do we dwell when it comes to how to properly react over something that happens to us or to someone we care for and how our government takes action in terms of justice? I think it’s very important to think about these things, and the author did a great job in coming up with a story that not only frames African modes of wisdom, but about what’s actually important to consider and think about.