Malaika Uwamahoro in “Miracle in Rwanda.”

Play written, co-created

by Fil-Am Leslie Lewis

Contributed to the Filipino Reporter

On March 17, 2019, the story of a remarkable woman took center stage during the Women Of the World (WOW) Festival, a laser-focused event on gender equality and female empowerment held at the historic Apollo Theater in New York.

It is the story of Immaculée Ilibagiza, a survivor of the horrifying Rwandan Genocide, and the subject of the critically-acclaimed “Miracle in Rwanda” — a one-woman show written by Leslie Lewis, daughter of the first African-American billion-dollar dealmaker Reginald F. Lewis; and Filipino-American lawyer, businesswoman and philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis.

“Miracle in Rwanda” is about Ilibagiza’s ordeal during the 1994 massacre that killed over 800,000 people from the Tutsi tribe.

On her website, Lewis shares why Ilibagiza’s story inspired her to develop this unique piece of theater: “Immaculée’s family was brutally murdered during the three-month slaughter that began in April 1994. Miraculously, Immaculée managed to survive. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently and cramped together in an undiscovered extra bathroom in a local pastor’s home. Her terror escalated as hundreds of machete-wielding killers searched the house repeatedly for her without success, determined to find and butcher her. Ultimately, Immaculée moves beyond intense fear and rage, to find a deeper connection to God than she ever thought possible.”

Lewis is an accomplished producer, director, playwright and actor, who had performed this show on five continents, for over 15,000 theatergoers.



In 2017, the multi-awarded journalist Susan Taylor gave this tribute to Lewis after seeing “Miracle in Rwanda” for the first time: “Forgiveness at a level that we read about — you brought to life. Thank you for just breathing life into a story that is so powerful, and so needed right now. You are bringing to us the healing balm that we need so very, very deeply.”

This year, to commemorate the 25th year since the Rwandan Genocide ended, “Miracle in Rwanda” returns in a limited Off-Broadway run at The Lion Theater from April 4-21, 2019.

The role of Immaculée Ilibagiza is portrayed by Rwandan actress Malaika Uwamahoro, and directed by George Drance, SJ of Magis Theatre Company.

Tickets can be purchased through Telecharge at 212.239.6200 or by visiting www.miracleinrwanda.nyc.

Suggested keywords / hashtags: #Womenhistorymonth #onewomanshow #Rwanda #MiracleInRwanda #ImmaculéeIlibagiza #LeslieLewis #LoidaLewis #ReginaldFLewis #Blackhistory #rwandagenocide #miracle #forgiveness #Malaika




“Miracle in Rwanda” Summary

Official Pick of the Scotsman at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A tribute to the power of faith and forgiveness, and based on The New York Times bestseller “Left to Tell,” “Miracle in Rwanda” shares one woman’s story of surviving the 1994 genocide.

Witness the stunning tour-de-force solo performance of actress Malaika Uwamahoro as she transforms herself into every character in this harrowing yet uplifting true story.

In April 1994 in Rwanda, an extremist militia of Hutu tribesmen began a brutal, widespread effort to exterminate all members of the Tutsi minority tribe.

A Catholic young woman named Immaculée went into hiding, armed only with the rosary her father gave her.

While marauders searched for her, she made a decision to pray using the beads her father gave her, transforming her heart and mind, so that in the midst of this holocaust, she found the core divinity within her, the place that no killer can eradicate.

“Miracle in Rwanda” has been chosen by the United Nations as the official artistic commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi.

“Stunning, powerful, deeply moving...Don’t miss this show.” — The Journal Star

“It’s completely captivating to witness...With the combination of the strong performance and beautiful writing, ‘Miracle in Rwanda’ is an absolute must-see.” — Fritzie Andrade, BroadwayBaby


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