Not My Time to Die
“Reading Yolande Mukagasana’s book in French at the age of 15 changed my life.”- Gaël Faye
Originally published as La mort ne veut pas de moi in 1997, this book was the first survivor testimony to be published about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
In 1994 Yolande was an unconventional nurse and mother of three who enjoyed wearing jeans and designer glasses. She ran her own clinic in Nyamirambo and was planning a party for her wedding anniversary. But when genocide started everything changed. Targeted because she was a successful Tutsi woman, she was separated from her family and had to flee for her life.
Mukagasana’s gripping memoir describes the betrayal of friends and help that came from surprising places. Quick-witted and courageous, Yolande never lost hope she would find her children alive.
Translated from the French by Zoe Norridge.
“This book was one of the first literary testimonies that I read in French about Rwanda. I found it profoundly moving — both realistic and introspective. Thanks to this beautiful translation, it is at long last available to the English-speaking public.” — Véronique Tadjo
“Reading Yolande Mukagasana’s book in French at the age of fifteen changed my life. I realized that genocide is not a mass crime but a single murder repeated hundreds of thousands of times. With this testimony the genocide is no longer just a historical event, it is instead the story of a woman, a mother, a Tutsi. And this is what makes Yolande’s account universal.” — Gaël Faye
“Reading Not My Time to Die was an unsettling experience. I both loved and hated following Yolande in her excruciatingly long journey to safety in this beautifully written memoir. As someone who knew too little about the genocide against the Tutsi, reading it made me want to understand how such an abhorrent event could ever come about. This text is an intense, but exceptional, introduction to the history of the genocide, and I would recommend it to everyone. The 2019 English translation is skillfully executed and finally gives the English-speaking world access to Yolande Mukagasana’s memoir, originally published in French more than two decades ago.” — Kiera Fields, Africa in Words
Yolande Mukagasana is a renowned Rwandan writer, public figure and campaigner for the remembrance of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
She has authored four books about genocide and its aftermath, performed her testimony in the iconic Rwanda 94 touring theatre production and has received numerous international prizes for her work, including the Alexander Langer Foundation Prize for Testimony and Solidarity, the American Jewish Committee Moral Courage Award and an Honourable Mention for the UNESCO Education for Peace Prize.
Her first book, La mort ne veut pas de moi, has been translated into Italian, Turkish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Hebrew and now English.