(If you are from my community and at any point feel uncomfortable reading this, please ask yourself why. To anyone one who wishes to understand the story behind this, click here)
Dear Francine Nyanzaninka,
How sad is it that the only time I get to write to you is under these circumstances?
I wish I had known you. Thanks for blessing this world with your smile and most importantly your existence. Thank you for persevering and working hard to be a role model not only to your siblings but also the community. I just wanted to apologize. We failed you. We, as a community, failed to protect you while you were still with us. I don’t understand a lot about our culture or why it is the way it is. I don’t understand why silence is almost like a crown we carry as we hide some of our darkest secrets. I don’t understand why it is hard for our mothers to protect us from the men in our families. But I must apologize because if each one of us were brave enough to start questioning our institutions and demand for our rights to be protected and valued, you would probably still be with us.
I wonder what plans you had for your life. I wonder what great things you had dreamed of achieving or places you wanted to go and even your own mother you were going to meet soon. I must say that you must have been so bright that somehow somewhere someone thought of dimming your light.
We have to change, we have to do better. As a community, we have to reevaluate the space that women occupy and demand to be respected, valued, loved, cherished, protected, and most importantly equipped to go through life on our own terms.
I promise to you that I will do everything in my power to be the change I wish to see. This will be my way of honoring your memory.
I pray that your soul rests in peace. I pray for up there to be as sweet as we’ve been told it is.
Fly with the angels…Fly Angel Francine Nyanzaninka.
P.S. If you got to read this post, please take a moment of silence in memory of Francine N.