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Remembering Flory

  • Published

    9 March 2023
  • Written by

    Jennifer Venis

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Peace Direct’s friend and colleague, Pastor Floribert (Flory) Kazingufu, passed away on 2 March 2023 in Bujumbura, Burundi. He was 55 years old.

Flory was the Coordinator of Fondation Chirezi (FOCHI), an organisation he co-founded in 2002, based in South-Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Harriet Knox Brown, Peace Direct’s Deputy CEO and Head of Programmes and Research, shared:

“Flory was a remarkable man – a passionate and committed peacebuilder, an entrepreneur, an academic, and an optimist who held hope for a better future in the DRC. He believed in the power of Congolese people to build peace from the ground up.”

Dylan Mathews, Peace Direct’s CEO, said of Flory:

“I was lucky enough to have worked with Flory for many years and to have spent time with him in Eastern DR Congo. His energy was infectious, as was his passion for peacebuilding. I remember his smile and his bellowing laugh, but most of all I remember the conversations I had with him about his ambition to do more for communities across South Kivu so that they could all live in peace. He never gave up on his ambition, despite the tremendous challenges and setbacks.”

Flory continually looked for ways to support communities and displaced persons across South-Kivu and eastern DRC. He worked with FOCHI to set up traditional peace courts and justice mechanisms for communities and for women; village savings and loans associations; and a peace radio, Radio Amani. He worked tirelessly to offer children, young people, and marginalised communities an education, and safety.

In this 2017 video on Peace News Network, Flory shared his own story, his motivations, and his belief in building peace through education and everyday activities:

Flory inspired so many of us at Peace Direct and within the broader peacebuilding community, and his loss will be felt widely and deeply.

During his funeral, his colleagues shared the following words (translated from French):

“You leave before us, far too soon, far too quickly, and your disappearance is a dislocation that reminds us that we are, after all, passengers on this Earth and that we must take every second, every minute down here to do good.”

Flory leaves a strong legacy through FOCHI and the wider initiatives that he tirelessly supported throughout his life, including setting up and supporting wider civil society and co-founding the Pan-African Peace University in Bukavu and Uvira.

FOCHI is one of Peace Direct’s longest-standing partnerships, and we are immensely proud of the work we’ve supported since 2010. Peace Direct staff last had the privilege to meet Flory and his colleagues in Entebbe, Uganda, in February 2023 and will continue supporting them to strengthen peace and social cohesion amongst communities across South-Kivu over the coming months and years.

Flory was buried in a moving funeral ceremony on 7 March, in Bujumbura, Burundi. He leaves behind a widow and five children, three of whom are in primary school.

All of us at Peace Direct are holding Flory’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.

Click here for the French version of this obituary.


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