¨His dream was that gay people feel free¨
FAREWELL TO LGBTI ACTIVIST GEORGES KANUMA IN BURUNDI
By Jerina Messie (BTM French Reporter)
BURUNDI- 20 April 2010: The LGBTI community in Burundi has lost one of its most committed activists and defender, Georges Kanuma who passed away in Bujumbura, on Wednesday 14 April after a kidney failure and malaria complications.
Kanuma was an activist and founder of Association for Respect of Homosexuals’ Rights (ARDHO) in 2003, the first LGBTI organization in the country, which was latter renamed HUMURE.
Those who knew him say he was a committed and fervent activist, who became one of the few out gay men in Burundi in the early 2000s.
“He used to go to radio stations to speak out and raise awareness about issues affecting the LGBTI community. Before we had a proper organization, we used to met and worked at his house. Georges really wanted to mobilize the LGBTI community. Every time he knew that someone was gay he would go to him or her and invited them to attend our meetings and to organize themselves in order to be powerful”, said Nestor Hakizimana, a friend.
Hakizimana added that Kanuma was not only the focal point of LGBTI activism in Burundi but also “a mentor and a dedicated friend for the members of the LGBTI community he served.”
Théophile Habonimana, a member of HUMURE said “I met him in 2004 after he created HUMURE. He was always there when someone in the community needed help. His dream was that gay people feel free. I met him at a time when I was very depressed because of my sexual orientation and he taught me how to be courageous,”
“He will be sorely missed in the LGBTI community. It will be difficult for us to cope without him. He was our hero,” Habonimana said.
At the time of his death, Kanuma worked as MSM Project Manager for ANSS (National Association for HIV Positive and Aids Patients in Burundi) in Bujumbura. HERE
May his soul rest in peace and rise in GLORY!
· Thanks to Behind the Mask, sidebar, HOME
· Thanks to Jerina Messie
· Thanks to ANSS, National Association for HIV Positive and Aids Patients in Burundi
· Thanks to HUMURE, First LGBTI Organization in Burundi
· Thanks to Nestor Hakizimana
· Thanks to Théophile Habonimana
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