To Sana Maboneza, Yesterday…

482992_3479094532255_1443548431_nSince yesterday,

John Lennon’s song has been playing through my mind: Yesterday:

‘Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,

Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,

Oh I believe, in yesterday…’


I hear it and I cry, for dire news’ coming from afar.

News of death, news of despair…

Somebody keep the news away from me,

Don’t tell me Sana, my brother is no more;


Hey Sana,

It’s only yesterday, when you and I met after so long and laughed again,

We’d stayed connected, that we picked up from Kigali, and Goma, where it all begun;

Our minds were in sinc, so were our ideals,

You were among the few who understood my struggles…


Oh yesterday, when you were a young diplomat, dashing and proud,

Yesterday, on your wedding day to my friend Mami, both young and free,

When you became parents for the first time, to Keziah Atete, a beautiful queen,

Your girls will miss so, I can’t even imagine…


Your demise is a lesson; in fact it frees us from fear

I fear death no more, for the best among us do die,  

But you were not supposed to die though, Sana

Not you, not now, you’ve left us way before your time;

From where you’re watching us brother,

Know that in our midst, your company was so dear.



Ngo erega Imana nayo ikund’ abeza,

Niko kababaro bidutera…


Mister Maboneza. Monsieur Moboneza…

The United Nations had warmed up to you;

You were a true diplomat, all sides agreed upon you;

You sought and found common ground, you brought parties together;


You knew everyone’s name, you knew what animates them, even before they asked…

As you gave me a tour, I watched in awe, as you brought assurances to emissaries of nations, big and small alike;

You did it so splendidly; you earned friends and allies to our nation, with each day that passed.


My brother, you have no idea of the void that you’ve left in us,

In the hearts of an entire country, to your daughter and your wife;

You were out of this world; the best of us all;

Rwandans passing through New York knew whom to call;

Your warmth was unmatched and so was your care for all;


Ah Sana!

Calling your name now sounds paradoxical;

For it warms my heart then breaks it into pieces;

I will not celebrate Christmas this year.

For forty days I will try to do the things that I have not done in a while.

I will think about you, and how I can be the decent man you were;


Perhaps it isn’t yesterday, but tomorrow we should long for;

One of these mornings when re-united, again and  forever,

For life here won’t be the same without you;

God speed brother, we commit you to the almighty God, you creator,

We will remember you always; you’ll be in our hearts forever…


Go on now, I will tell your daughter how a good man her father was, and I will take her as my own…

Rest in peace, I’ll tell the gravedigger to make your grave shallow, so that you can still feel the rain…



  1. We grieve together dear brother Gatete, may His blessed soul rest in peace. May Almighty God give his strength to stand these terrible moments.

  2. Gatete vous m’avez fait pleurer de tristeste pour la perte de votre ami. Peut etre quelque part …. demain ou quand ses enfants seront grands vous vous retrouverez et Sana vous dira merci pour cet hommage.

    Anna (MamaMukuru)

  3. I have been crying and crying not coming to terms with your passing Sana…Oh Sana, my dear friend. I remember you from this day, – Sunday, wearing a red shirt, going out of your way to help your brother for a requested charger.

    We had catch up for a brunch; less than 30 minutes. God knows how much I would love to relieve this moment, simply to let you know how important you are to those you were able to reach. May God bless you

  4. Very well said. He was an incredible person, and will be missed by so many! Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Check Also

How an American ‘hero’ incriminated himself in Africa.

On December 17th 2018, the German foreign service issued a travel advisory encouraging German citizens to ‘eschew travelling to Rwanda’s ...