Every single day, I could share a story of someone who disappears in Rwanda because people keep disappearing (or being killed) almost on a daily basis. But I won’t, because I know how human beings are. After one week, you will get used to it and won’t even pay attention to their stories anymore, while my goal is to get YOU to feel concerned about their fate. That’s why I will continue to share their stories only once in a while, because if YOU don’t feel concerned about their fate as you would if they were your friends or relatives, there is no hope of having a brighter future in our country. There is no hope that one day we can move forward together as a nation.
Today I would like to share with you the story of Ndamira Jean de Dieu, and invite you to get to know more about him, his story and his personality.
Yesterday I spoke to one of his closest friend who told me: “This is crazy, the day he disappeared, we were communicating, I talked to him while he was on his way to take the bus for Nairobi, and one hour later, he stopped answering, and I never heard about him since then. I should still be shocked but I am not, because it happens so often in Rwanda that you get to used to it.” The friend ended by adding: “There is no society in which people should get used to these kind of things.”
Jean de Dieu Ndamira is a 43 years old Rwandan blogger and a father of two young children. He used to live in Nairobi. In 2018, one of his dreams became a reality, when he received green light to go to the US and start a new life. However, there was one thing he needed to do in order to fulfil his dream: “to renew his passport”, meaning going to Kigali to do so.
Even though he was a bit worried about going back to a country under dictatorial rule, he told himself it should be alright. Because even though he was publishing his life stories in an online media that was close to the opposition, he didn’t think he would be a target since he was nor an opponent, nor a critique, but just a citizen holding a blog about his life.
On march 9 2018, while he was in the office in Kigali to get his passport, he sent a text message to Marc Matabaro, one of his friends joking: “If we don’t speak before tomorrow, you have to know they got me 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣”. One hour later he wrote: “I just got my passport, thank you very much”, and this would be his last message.
He was never seen after that. We don’t know if he has been arrested, killed or tortured. We don’t even know if he is still alive. His friend who I was talking to yesterday, told me: “Sometimes I have a silly thought that all those people who keep disappearing might still be alive, might be detained in a secret place and that maybe one day, we shall see them again”.
For those who speak Kinyarwanda and want to know more about Jean de Dieu Ndamira, about his story, his dreams, his aspirations, I invite you to read the story of his life. He started to write in 2017. Every week, he was publishing one piece, starting with “Ndamira : episode 1”. The last episode, « Ndamira : episode 31 », was written on march 7, 2018, one day before he disappeared.