Fiction for Young Adults

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Rwanga, Charles

Kanyana


Kigali, Rwanda: Editions Bakame, 2000. 48 p. Ages 13 and up.


Language: Kinyarwanda


Publisher: Editions Bakame


Summary
Kanyana is a beautiful fourteen-year-old girl who is starting secondary school at a boarding school for boys and girls. Vicky, a high-school student known for his reckless behaviour, lusts after Kanyana as soon as he sees her. However, Vicky is not the only one who is after Kanyana; there are male teachers who promise her better marks in exchange for sexual favours, and older rich men who tempt her with money and jewellery. Kanyana consistently resists them all.

Vicky swears to his friends that he will get Kanyana one day, but is unsuccessful while he is finishing high school. After graduation, he finds a well-paying job and buys a nice car, which he uses to give rides to his many girlfriends. He continues to visit Kanyana at school on weekends and at home on holidays, bringing gifts and pretending to be her friend. One day, Vicky offers Kanyana a ride back to school, and they stop at a motel for a snack. When it is time to leave, Vicky pretends that his car has broken down, and they spend the night together at the motel. After that day, Kanyana does not see Vicky again. A year later, she becomes sickly, and she receives a letter from Vicky informing her that he is dying of AIDS and asking her forgiveness for having contaminated her. Desperate and angry because she is HIV positive, Kanyana neglects her studies and starts to sleep with any boy who wants her. When the disease weakens her, she drops out of school and returns home, only to face social stigma and discrimination. She dies after having exhausted her family’s resources.

Commentary
This is a plausible and well-written story that highlights all the facets of the AIDS scourge. It is a cautionary tale that depicts the irresponsibility of some youth and the misery of AIDS victims and their families.



 

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