by Roland Rugero
translated from the French by Christopher Schaefer
“…measured sentences of understated enigma, steeped in poetry and African wisdom”
When Nyamuragi, an adolescent mute, attempts to ask a young woman in rural Burundi for directions to an appropriate place to relieve himself, his gestures are mistaken as premeditation for rape. To the young woman's community, his fleeing confirms his guilt, setting off a chain reaction of pursuit, mob justice, and Nyamuragi's attempts at explanation.
Young Burundian novelist Roland Rugero's second novel Baho!, the first Burundian novel to ever be translated into English, explores the concepts of miscommunication and justice against the backdrop of war-torn Burundi's beautiful green hillsides.
Born in 1986 in Burundi, Roland Rugero grew up in a family where reading was a favorite pastime. He has worked as a journalist in Burundi since 2008. His novels include Les Oniriques and Baho!, the first Burundian novel to be translated into English. Rugero has held residencies at La Rochelle and at Iowa's prestigious International Writing Program. In addition to his work as a writer, in 2011 he wrote and directed Les pieds et les mains, the second-ever feature-length film from Burundi. Rugero is active in promoting Burundi's literary culture, co-founding the Samandari Workshop and helping found the Michel Kayoza and Andika Prizes. He lives in Bujumbura, Burundi.
Christopher Schaefer is a translator from the Spanish and French living in Paris. He has won the Ezra Pound Award for Best Translation from the University of Pennsylvania for his translations of the Cuban poet Javier Marimón. In 2012 he participated in the English PEN Translation Slam at the Poetry Parnassus in London.
"The book is something of a landmark and another welcome step in the much-needed drive to bring more Francophone African literature into the world’s most-published language." -Ann Morgan, A Year Of Reading The World
"I highly recommend this novel, for the strength of its story, for the depth of its characters and commentary, and for the fact that you probably have read nothing it like it before." -John Venegas, Angel City Review
"In measured sentences of understated enigma, steeped in poetry and African wisdom, Baho! leads us through the twists and turns of a country reinventing itself." -Fiston Mwanza Mujila, author of Tram 83
"The leading writer of Burundi's younger generation." -Martin Ntirandekura
Cover art by Jaya Nicely