Charles Nkazamyampi

Charles Nkazamyampi

I came to represent a nation, not an ethnic group.

Charles Nkazamyampi after running in Toronto

Charles Nkazamyampi is the founder and leader of the of Foundation Charles Nkazamyampi (FCN). He is a national hero because he won the silver medal in the 800m at the 1993 indoor World Championships in Toronto. Shortly before racing, he received a phone call informing him that his mother and father had been murdered and thrown into a latrine. He still went ahead with the race, after which an insensitive journalist asked him: “So did you win for the Hutus or the Tutsis ?” “No, I raced for all Burundians,” he replied. He was also Champion of Africa in 1992, and raced in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. So he appears in all the Burundian primary school textbooks.

He forgave his parents’ killers, came to faith, and is now using his position to mobilise young people to unite in peace-building initiatives. His aim is to mobilise emotionally-wounded young people to sign up to core values to resist being manipulated – for example, in the build-up to elections. He is an ambassador of peace, with a vision a raising a new generation as leaders who will help the nation develop healthily with a full range of ideas and opinions.  

FCN has already had a significant impact in many people’s lives, and with its inspirational founder, there is much to come.

VIDEO: Charles: The Runner

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