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He Brought Refugees Together With A Soccer Ball

When Robert Hakiza was a boy, he used to play soccer with kids regardless of their ethnicity. Could the sport help cut through ethnic tensions at a refugee camp in Uganda?
Robert Hakiza, who started a soccer tournament to unite refugees in Africa, sits on a bench in Washington, D.C. Source: Josh Loock/NPR

Robert Hakiza remembers running to his uncle's house, finding his sandal first and then his bloodstained body heaped on the ground.

Uncle Boniface had been an anthropology professor who lectured at universities in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and across the border in Rwanda. He had taught Hakiza, then a teenager, to love school in their Congolese city of Bukavu. But political turmoil and ethnic tensions were on the rise. One day in 1996, rebels killed Boniface because, Hakiza says, he looked Rwandan. They thought he was a spy.

The following year, President Mobutu Sese Seko was ousted and a brutal war that involved multiple African countries ensued. Daily life became so dangerous that Hakiza's parents told him he should

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