Illustrated by Seminega Félix. Kigali, Rwanda: Editions Bakame, 2003. 36 p. Ages 4-8.
Publisher: Editions Bakame
The protagonist, Kageni, is an orphaned teenager who is raising her young siblings. She is compassionate and everybody loves her. Because of her ability to understand animal language, she is able to save young animals from old Nyamugera’s traps. At the same time, Kageni helps Nyamugera return to the village, leaving her miserable and lonely life near the forest. From then on, Nyamugera lives with Kageni and her siblings, and she ceases to be the scary character that grown-ups evoke to terrify children. She entertains children with beautiful stories, and in return they dance for her. The young animals are safe again in the forest.
This magical story, in which birds talk and animals hold counsel, is about compassion for all living things. Children are instrumental in overcoming prejudice, exclusion, and environmental degradation. Seminega Félix’s illustrations are full of vibrant colours, and the children and young animals are portrayed with humour and evident tenderness. Seminega Félix, the leading illustrator of children’s books in Rwanda today, graduated magna cum laude in 1994, from the renowned Nyundo School of Art. He is a founding member and the first president of Illusafrica Rwanda, an association of authors and illustrators of children books.