Ubuzima bugira icyanga aruko bufite icyizere, or Life has taste when there is hope: Transcendent trauma narratives of post-genocide Rwanda



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This dissertation proposes a structured model for a trauma writing workshop that provides opportunities for individuals to grieve and write about their traumatic experiences. The Kibuye Model offers comprehensive support for writers during this difficult but beneficial work. The model was found to be promising through narrative analysis of ten trauma narratives written by survivors of Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Using a software textual analysis program called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), the narratives were found to be typical in style and form compared to other samples of emotional writing. The content of the trauma narratives focuses more on topics related to mass trauma and genocide, and several texts were found to transcend narrative structure through writers’ use of rhetorical figures. Findings and implications of this analysis can be used for further trauma writing workshop development and implementation, for writing groups who focus on painful experiences, and by mental health experts who employ the expressive writing paradigm. Please note that this study includes graphic descriptions of genocidal violence and psychological trauma.