In 1994, he was a 17-year-old growing up in Rwanda in a relatively wealthy family and his dream was to make it big as a singer.
But Corneille Nyungura’s life turned upside down during the 1994 genocide which left at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead.
When the killing squad came to his home, Corneille hid behind a sofa while his entire family was slaughtered.
Now a Canadian citizen and one of the best Rwandan RnB exports, mainly to the Francophone world, Corneille has been singing for the past 20 years about his tragic loss and the trauma of living through the genocide.
His newly released autobiography expands on the theme.
In his struggle to understand and accept what happened in 1994 in his home country, Corneille says that he developed an “irrational fear” about going back to his homeland.
Speaking to French TV channel LCI, he said:
Rwanda is the only part of my identity I am yet to reconcile with. Those who decimated my family that night are members of the army now in charge today in Rwanda.
Hutu militiamen did massacre hundreds of thousands of Tutsis. But there are cases, like mine, where the Tutsi army killed children in cold-blood. I struggle not to say that on arriving at the airport back home on any day, I wouldn’t see the soldiers who killed my loved ones.”
It is the first time that Corneille has directly accused the army for the massacre of his family. There has been no official reaction in Rwanda to his account of what happened to his family.