Erin Jessee and Jerome IrankundaJan 31, 2022
Daughter of Sacyega
Mudacumura Publishing House 2023
Erin Jessee, of the University of Glasgow, with her Rwandan co-author Jerome Irankunda, illustrator Christian Mafigiri, and translator Sylvere Mwizerwa, have published a graphic novel titled Nyiragitwa (Kigali: Mudacumura Publishing House, 2021). It tells the story of Nyiragitwa, a Rwandan woman who is thought to have lived in the 17th century. The first in a series of graphic novels about Rwandans living in the pre-colonial era, Nyiragitwa provides insight into how Rwandan women might have lived and contributed to their communities in the past. The story is based on the oral histories of Jan Vansina, of the University of Wisconsin, in the 1950s and 1960s. Nyiragitwa’s life history was shared with Vansina by a Rwandan elder named Ndamyumugabe. Erin and I had a wide-ranging conversation about publishing for Rwandans, the absence of women in Rwanda’s pre-colonial history and the value of collaborative work.
Susan Thomson is an Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University. I like to interview pretenure scholars about their research. I am particularly keen on their method and methodology, as well as the process of producing academic knowledge about African places and people.