By David Himbara
In My Recent Visit To Beautiful South Africa, I Recalled The Wisdom of The Rwandan Brave, Patrick Karegeya – “The Nicest Thing About The Rain Is That It Always Stops. Eventually.”
On arriving at Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport, I noticed something new. There is now an impressive statue of Oliver Tambo. Tambo was a giant in South African politics. He ably served as the president of African National Congress (ANC) from 1967 to 1991. He passed away at the age of 75 in Johannesburg on 24 April 1993. As I posed for a photo with the Tambo’s likeness, I couldn’t help but recall his wonderful vision of South Africa:
“We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity. We seek to create a united Democratic and non-racial society. The fight for freedom must go on until it is won; until our country is free and happy and peaceful as part of the community of man, we cannot rest.”
Then I hit the highway to my good old Johannesburg. I wondered aloud about the trees I planted back in 2010. Surely they had become a thick forest. Right?
Yes indeed! A beautiful forest I created with my own hands is full of beautiful trees of all kinds and fabulous flowers. But what about the hills I used to climb every Sunday?
The hills and the countryside are still as pretty as I remembered them. They are ever green and awesome.
But there was an even more rewarding side to my South African visit – the visit rekindled the spirit of a Rwandan brave Patrick Karegeya. He was taken away from us on January 1, 2014, by the brutal Rwandan dictatorship led by General Paul Kagame.
I don’t mourn Patrick Karegeya. He would not have wanted us to cry forever. He always wanted us to look forward to better Rwanda, whatever it took. Karegeya and I used to talk through the long nights of Johannesburg winters and summers about the future. We were both well aware that we were targeted for elimination and might not make it to the next day. But we persisted in talking about the future. We imagined what Rwanda would look like without power-hungry dictators. One night in December 2013, we joked that if the Rwandan dictatorship had a satellite and long-range missile, the regime would wipe us out in a single shot. Within days, Karegeya was brutally murdered.
Dear Patrick, rest assured that as you used to remind me all the time that we shall overcome evil. You remember your favorite saying? You often reminded me that “the nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.” Meaning that the Rwandan dictatorship will end, too. I can’t tell you when that will be, my brother. But the dictatorship will end – like the one before it. Who ever thought that Zimbabwe’s Mugabe would be thrown out of power without a single shot fired? Dear Patrick, your effort was never in vain. We will get there. May you rest in eternal peace.