In the story of Baho! by Roland Rugero, we are given the circumstances of a mute man who unfortunately is accused of rape due to a misunderstanding. While the story focuses on the mute, Nyamuragi, and his accusers using him as a lightning rod for the problems they also created, the story has an interesting way of talking about humanity.

In one instance we see Nyamuragi reminiscing about his youth, after he became permanently mute we see that, ” Nyamuragi had learned too early, and at his own expense, that life is composed of dualities… As long as that duality is present in every breath, life will continue with ease; between the two poles of the duality, everything can be compared.” (Baho! 13) and with that we get an idea of this world where people will be  divided. Everything will stay the same except for what the people will compare amongst themselves is better in this world of duality. No matter how much change there is they will always be duality, with ideals to oppose one another and compare themselves to another.

Another instance of Humanity is when the Burundi men gather to discuss what Nyamuragi did to Kigeme and how the women are reacting to the situation. In fact when the woman are reacting to the situation (very gloomingly), the men, “…tactlessly comment on the gloomy murmur rising from the feminine sex below…. Their honor must be avenged because their domain has been desecrated… Excuse me! Him! That unfortunate freak of nature. He has desecrated their domain and sullied their wealth” (Baho! 26) which shows that the men don’t really care for the women or at the very least see them as less than people and more as valuable objects (after all the women are reacting this way because the men in the area have treated most of them terribly). The men act terribly towards the women who care for them and now that they (the women) are coming together and reacting to this built up mistreatment, the men must act as if they are in the right by punishing Nyamuragi, the worst offender in the spotlight. Though the men don’t really contemplate on their actions, only that they themselves must react to the situation and be in the women’s favor less they start asking to judge the men who mistreat them.


Relevance: The women criticize the men because the men treated them terribly, and the men (while acknowledging they are terrible) don’t really see that their behavior is the problem to the women.

Finally, another thing that the novel touches on Humanity is that words have become weak with one another. An example is the saying “May I undress my daughter if I stole the money!” which originally was a strong saying that because no one would dare believe that a father would do such a heinous act. Now thanks to the wars fought in their country, where countless heinous acts were committed and burned into the memories of everyone, these words have lost power. In fact, “”In public, swearing by “Ndaka…” “May I…”, now provokes disapproval. If shared, it then becomes disgust”( Baho! 43) and a man who does swear by this, “… will quickly find himself presumed guilty of the act. Out of caution. While waiting for the evidence” ( Baho! 43).  And this shows that the people who live there have lost faith in one another, with a saying that would normally provide  an atmosphere of innocence until proven guilty now leading to the people immediately judging the man guilty before he is placed on trial. It’s similar to how people in America would usually believe an “I’m innocent” or “I apologize for this misconduct (sexual or other”, which would leave the accused with the benefit of the doubt, now leading the accused to be immediately seen as guilty in the eyes of the people. In other words, we have lost hope in humanity.

That’s how much an apology means nowadays, how much words have lost their power to the poeple. It can be mocked and picked apart to the bones because deep down it doesn’t convince you that that person is genuinely sincere. They’re only protecting their image until people forget.

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