Get To Know Us: Meet Fleury


Fleury is from Burundi. He was born, as a twin, on 22 December 2000 and has three older brothers. Fleury’s father was killed by soldiers just before he was born, hence his great sorrow never to have known his own father, leaving his mother to struggle on her own. When he was 13, soldiers came to their school and, as was their practise, abducted a truck full of boys to force them into their army. Fleury and his brothers were amongst them. They were taken to a house, forbidden to go out and, among other things, trained to kill, but not with a usual target. They would blindfold one of the boys and force another boy to shoot him. If they failed to comply, they were punished by being beaten with an overheated iron rod. This happened to Fleury too, when he refused to shoot his own brother. After one month, when the soldiers were out, the prisoners broke down the door and escaped to the forest, not being able to go home, since they would be traced there. Their mother used to bring food to the forest where they were hiding, but suggested they leave the country as they could not continue to live under these conditions. They came to Johannesburg in the luggage compartment of a truck, and caught a bus. Once here, they were taken in by an uncle. They enrolled at the English Course for Refugees at the Catholic cathedral and met the teacher, Diana, there. She fortunately was able to take him into Mercy House and he was enrolled at school.