Episode 3 – Scholastique Mukasonga’s Writings

Dear curious people, we are happy to see you again!

In our previous episode we spoke about BBC production miniseries “Black Earth Rising” and were joined by a special guest, but in this episode we would like to have you join our conversation about Scholastique Mukasonga and her work.

Scholastique Mukasonga is one of the most successful Rwandan authors of today. She was born in 1956 in a country which even then faced with the cruelty of Hutu-Tutsi conflict that led to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Due to such circumstances, most of her childhood was marked by constant moving, which eventually compelled her to leave the country. Today, she lives in France, where she writes books in which she reflects on the great tragedy that Rwanda and she herself experienced. The genocide took 37 close family members and made her a survivor.

In episode we gathered her two books – her memoir Cockroaches (in French: Inyenzi ou les Cafards) and her novel Our Lady of the Nile (in French: Notre-Dame du Nil) – and through them, examine more with the stories of Rwandan people and appreciate the contribution she, as an author, brings into our collective memory. In our discussion we share our own thoughts and experiences of reading Mukasonga’s work, and we also touch upon the importance of understanding this story, as well as the construct of a literary archive and the significant role it has for the future generations.  

However, Mukasonga’s influence is not limited only to her writings. Recently, in 2019, the plot of her novel was turned into a movie (also titled Our Lady of the Nile), which made the story accessible to a broader audience. The director of the movie is Atiq Rahimi, who is also a very good friend of Mukasonga. But how did their business cooperation go? Find out in this podcast episode, and, even better, read the book and watch the movie.

In this episode, you’re welcome to take part in a conversation between three students who would like to hear others’ opinions too! Join us in reading, watching, experiencing and conversing – let’s build our collective memory together! 


This episode includes the quotes from Scholastique Mukasonga’s books which are provided by © Gallimard and Archipelago.

Those books are following:

Mukasonga, Scholastique. 2006. Inyenzi ou les Cafards. Gallimard.

Mukasonga, Scholastique. 2012. Notre-Dame du Nil. Gallimard.

Mukasonga, Scholastique & Mauthner, Melanie (translator). 2014. Our Lady of the Nile. Archipelago.

Mukasonga, Scholastique & Stump, Jordan (translator). 2016. Cockroaches. Archipelago.


The episode features the song “Acoustic guitar rhythm with maracas” by maurolop (Intro), available under CC0 1.0 license, “Acoustic guitar- Sleepy” by afrodrumming, licensed under CC BY 3.0 and “Guitar loop 1l43” by Setuniman (Outro) available under CC BY-NC 3.0 license.

Curious to learn more? Click here to find a list of useful resources and links connected to the topics of our episodes:


%d bloggers like this: