The year 2014 marks 20 years since almost one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered in the Rwandan genocide. Although there were many contributing factors to the violence, virulent hate campaigns in the media played a central role in the genocide.

Today, on the same frequency that in 1994 incited the murder of the Tutsi ‘inyenzi’ (cockroaches), the radio soap “Musekeweya” broadcasts a message of reconciliation. The soap is immensely popular—every week, between 8:45 and 9:15 PM, millions of people tune in across the country.

The radiosoap seems to be a fairly normal soap at first, full of intrigues and villains and a “Romeo and Juliet” romance. But the soap is supposed to do more than just entertain; it is also intended to convey to listeners how violence against other groups begins and how it can be prevented.

The photographs are part of a trans-media documentary called “Love Radio.” It is a collaboration with writer Eefje Blankevoort and documents the process of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. Besides these photographs, the project consists of a web documentary, mobile Tap stories and an exhibition.

The project straddles the thin line between fact and fiction. At first glance it tells a linear, almost fairy-tale narrative. But a closer look reveals the complex reality beneath. While in the soap, happy endings predominate, reconciliation in real life is rather more intransigent. After the gruesome killings, how can perpetrators and victims live with and love each other?

—Anoek Steketee


For more information, visit: www.loveradio-rwanda.org

Don’t miss the work of all the other winners and finalists from the LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2014. In total, you’ll find 25 powerfully told stories from across the world.