Powerful sounds pierce the silence of the Rwandan countryside. Curious children
gawk outside the gate. This is something new in Rwanda—a group of women, 60
strong, pounding out rhythms of power and joy.
In 1994 Rwanda suffered a devastating genocide. Close to a million minority Tutsis were killed by neighbors, friends, even family. Horror swept the land. And when it was over, those who remained were broken, dead inside. The country has made great strides in economic recovery, but “people are not like roads and buildings” says Kiki Katese, pioneering Rwandan theater director. “How do we rebuild a human being?”
Kiki decided to start Ingoma Nshya, Rwanda’s first and only women’s drumming
troupe, open to women from both sides of the conflict. There was only one
requirement: to leave the categories of the past at the gate.
For Marta, a Hutu whose Tutsi husband was killed; Seraphine, who was eight when
she lost her whole family; Regine, whose parents are killers, in prison as perpetrators
- the troupe has been a place to begin to live again, to build new relationships, to
heal the wounds of the past. Yet the struggle to survive and provide for their families
So when Kiki came up with the idea to open Rwanda’s first and only ice cream shop, the women were intrigued … What was ice cream exactly and how would they do it? Kiki invited Jennie and Alexis of Brooklyn’s Blue Marble Ice Cream to come to Rwanda to help the drummers open their shop, which they aptly named Inzozi Nziza (Sweet Dreams).
“Sweet Dreams” follows this remarkable group of Rwandan women as they emerge
from the devastation of the genocide to create a future of hope and possibility for themselves.
For Kiki, “Reconciliation is not just about two peoples. People have to reconcile with themselves, with happiness, with life… “
Interview with Lisa and Rob Fruchtman: