Gianmarco Maraviglia | Photojournalist


The Black Madonna

Our Lady of Kibeho is the name given to Marian apparitions concerning several adolescents, in the 1980s in Kibeho, south-western Rwanda. The apparitions communicated various messages to the schoolchildren, including an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred, possibly foretelling the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.The Kibeho apparitions began on Nov. 28, 1981, at a time of increasing tension between the Tutsis and the Hutus. They occurred at Kibeho College, a secondary school for girls, and included an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred which many believe foretold the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
In 2001, the local bishop of the Catholic Church officially recognised the visions of three schoolchildren as authentic, is the only apparition approved by Vatican in Africa.
The visions may be regarded as an ominous foreshadowing of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, and particularly the 1995 Kibeho Massacre. The school where the visions occurred became a place of slaughter during the genocide as dozens of children were hacked to death by Hutu terrorists.Some of the visionaries were among the victims.

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  1. Rwanda, Kibeho. Many school children from all over the country come to Kibheo to hear the words of the seer Nathalie.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Many school children from all over the country come to Kibheo to hear the words of the seer Nathalie.
  2. Rwanda, Kibeho. Night celebration of the apparition of the Holy Mary.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Night celebration of the apparition of the Holy Mary.
  3. Rwanda, Kibeho. The chorus girls are preparing for the ceremony.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. The chorus girls are preparing for the ceremony.
  4. Rwanda, Kibeho. Faithful waiting for the blessing of water.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Faithful waiting for the blessing of water.
  5. Rwanda, Kibheo. Crowd at night procession.
    Rwanda, Kibheo. Crowd at night procession.
  6. Rwanda, Kibeho. In a mix of Christian and local tradition, children playing drums during Mass
    Rwanda, Kibeho. In a mix of Christian and local tradition, children playing drums during Mass
  7. Rwanda, Kibeho. During the prayer in the room of the apparition, a  faithful is seized with convulsions, and considered a victim of demonic possession.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. During the prayer in the room of the apparition, a faithful is seized with convulsions, and considered a victim of demonic possession.
  8. Rwanda, Kibeho. The Bishop of Gikongoro.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. The Bishop of Gikongoro.
  9. Rwanda, Kibheo. Crowd at night procession.
    Rwanda, Kibheo. Crowd at night procession.
  10. Rwanda, Kibeho. The room of the first apparition is now a little Chapel.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. The room of the first apparition is now a little Chapel.
  11. Rwanda, Kibeho. Nathalie Mukamazimpaka, one of the visionaries, in his small apartament. The first time that the Virgin Mary appeared to Nathalie was on January 12th, 1982, the last time on December 3rd, 1983.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Nathalie Mukamazimpaka, one of the visionaries, in his small apartament. The first time that the Virgin Mary appeared to Nathalie was on January 12th, 1982, the last time on December 3rd, 1983.
  12. Rwanda, Kibeho. Night celebration of the apparition of the Holy Mary.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Night celebration of the apparition of the Holy Mary.
  13. Rwanda, Kibeho. In a mix of Christian and local tradition, children playing drums during Mass
    Rwanda, Kibeho. In a mix of Christian and local tradition, children playing drums during Mass
  14. Rwanda, Kibeho. Nuns in the holy Chapel.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Nuns in the holy Chapel.
  15. Rwanda, Kibeho. More than 10,000 tutsi refugees in the Kibeho parish, there were massacred in April 1994. Those who barricaded themselves inside the Church were burned alive
    Rwanda, Kibeho. More than 10,000 tutsi refugees in the Kibeho parish, there were massacred in April 1994. Those who barricaded themselves inside the Church were burned alive
  16. Rwanda, Kibeho. The Marian sanctuary named "Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows".
    Rwanda, Kibeho. The Marian sanctuary named "Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows".
  17. Rwanda, Kibeho. Outside the village.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Outside the village.
  18. Rwanda, Kibheo. Crowd at night procession.
    Rwanda, Kibheo. Crowd at night procession.
  19. Rwanda, Nyumba. Father Edouard, who wrote a book about the apparition in Kibheo.
    Rwanda, Nyumba. Father Edouard, who wrote a book about the apparition in Kibheo.
  20. Kigali, Rwanda. Skulls in the memorial museum of genocide.
    Kigali, Rwanda. Skulls in the memorial museum of genocide.
  21. Rwanda, Kibheo. Nun seen trough the window of the apartment of Nathalie Mukamazimpaka, one of the visionaries.
    Rwanda, Kibheo. Nun seen trough the window of the apartment of Nathalie Mukamazimpaka, one of the visionaries.
  22. Rwanda, Kibeho. Although there has never been the miracle of water, the faithful consider it a sacred spring.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Although there has never been the miracle of water, the faithful consider it a sacred spring.
  23. Rwanda, Kibeho. Outside the church there is a a market of religious objects.
    Rwanda, Kibeho. Outside the church there is a a market of religious objects.