Silas started to notice how Tutsi were being discriminated against when a girl joined his primary six class. “Other students laughed and abused her in class. I was young and I couldn’t do much,” he says.
When he went to apply for an identity card, Silas said that he was a Tutsi. He believed that he was strong and powerful enough not to be harassed. Later on, when he wanted to join the army, his uncle had to intervene, explaining that he was not actually a Tutsi.
With his uncle’s support, Silas was allowed to enter the army. In 1990, when he was a soldier in Gako, Bugesera District, he was placed at roadblocks to identify and stop Tutsi but he would try to help them instead. During the Genocide, he accompanied 17 people to cross the border to Burundi before being recruited by the Rwandan Patriotic Army.
Silas Ntampfurayisyari is now retired, and advocates for the unity and reconciliation processes underway across Rwanda.