“My whole life I had to travel on these panya roads,’ Kennedy says. ‘It’s a Swahili word that means rat roads, and it is those little paths that you take in order not to be seen and to stay alive. That’s how I’ve survived.”
In this extraordinary book, celebrated journalist Jacques Pauw gives a human face to some of the most tumultuous events in recent African history. Rat Roads chronicles the remarkable journey of Kennedy Gihana, a young Tutsi man who fought against the genocidaires in Rwanda, but was part of an army that committed horrifying atrocities in Africa’s bloodiest conflict.
Seeking education instead of war, he walked thousands of kilometres to South Africa, where he slept in parks, lived on the street and worked as a low-paid security guard until he had saved enough money to enrol for a law degree. In 2011 he took the podium at the University of Pretoria to receive a master’s degree in international law.
Rat Roads combines many strands of life in Africa. Besides being the chronicle of one man’s incredible journey, it addresses issues such as civil conflict, xenophobia and the plight of refugees. It also explores the nature of war crimes and guilt, and gives insight into present-day Rwanda, showing how one tyranny has replaced another.
Rat Roads is a searing story of hardship and survival, and an unforgettable tale of courage and triumph.