Let the memory of Sifa be with us forever
  • Born in Congo.
  • Passed away on November 23, 2012 in South Africa.

This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, Sifa Nsengimana.


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We would like to thank you all for the messages posted online, sent via emails, the many phone calls, cards, and flowers.  The children and I, as well as the other family members, are eternally grateful.  She wasn’t ours alone; she was the worlds.  We take comfort in knowing that if indeed Emerson’s words “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded”are truth, as we believe they are, Sifa’s life although short by any measure has been a resounding success.

 With our thanks and love,

 Odette, Daniel, and Joseph/JeffJ.

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Published in The New York Times on November 28, 2012


NSENGIMANA--Sifa, 37, passed away suddenly on November 23, 2012 in South Africa. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sifa emigrated to Canada in 1993 and began her work as a human rights activist and champion of social justice. Sifa became an advocate for the voiceless, working on behalf of women and children in conflict zones before joining the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in 2006. In her role as founding Executive Director at ASYV, she created an indelible beacon of hope and possibility for orphans and vulnerable children in Rwanda. Survived by her beloved husband Joseph, daughter Odette, son Daniel, brother Alain, her loving family and extended family at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Sifa will always be remembered for her commitment to making the world a better place for all its inhabitants. Her generosity of spirit and tireless work on behalf of those less fortunate inspires countless others to do the same. Sifa's light will shine forever in our hearts and in the just and compassionate acts we do for humankind. Services will take place in South Africa. Donations in Sifa's honor can be made to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, 1375 Broadway, 17th floor, NYC, 10018.


Posted by Mathilde Mukantabana on 23rd November 2017
Dear Sifa You are very much missed! ...But your love has been a guiding light to your children Daniel and Odette who have grown into superb young people. I am thankful today for your friendship, I am thankful for your zest for life that reverberated to all of us.
Posted by Susan Morgan on 23rd November 2017
Dear Sifa - Your light and your beautiful smile still shines brightly. I remember you today, and will do so always, for the inspiration that you gave to me and so many others. To Sifa's family - I send my deepest sympathy for I know you must miss her every day. Please know that your wife, your mother, was a blessing to so many people in the world, and her brave and generous spirit will always be remembered.
Posted by JOSUE KAYIJAHO on 23rd November 2017
Dear Sifa We love you and we miss you
Posted by Irene Gathinji on 23rd November 2016
Sifa, clever little sister, sweet guardian angel, another year is gone! Four years and it seems like yesterday. I cherish the memories of times we shared, your love and friendship and often reflect on your wisdom and especially your pragmatic approach to life. "Only God Knows". Continue to watch over our children as they grow and flourish. May your soul continue to rest in heavenly bliss until we meet again.
Posted by Serge Kasuku on 23rd November 2016
Your presence will always be felt in my life, and your words of wisdom will never stop guiding me through tough times. I miss you my dear sister.
Posted by Hiiram Gahima on 23rd November 2016
Dear Sifa, 4 Years already but it seems like yesterday. You will always be in our thoughts. Your legacy will be forever cherished and remembered.
Posted by Alida Ngandu on 23rd November 2016
Le souvenir, c’est la présence invisible. Victor Hugo Tu reste à jamais dans mon cœur.
Posted by Irene Gathinji on 23rd November 2015
Dear Sifa, Its been 3 years since you suddenly left us yet in may ways you are here with me. I remember you most days as I drive up and down the street that you loved, as I think of the many conversations we had and as I say "only God knows" - that phrase you used when things were beyond your comprehension. A clever little sister. I also delight in the news of your family and always grateful to God's providence in the lives of Daniel, Odette and Joseph and your extended family. As laid some flowers in the spot which was appointed to be the door through which you leave us, I was comforted by the memory of your positive attitude to life and sense of purpose. There was always something to do, someone to cheer, someone to think about, a project to start, a book to read, a meal to cook, family to love and oh that bright smile welcoming one in your world. How you lived a full life, every second and every minute? How you loved and cared? Now sweet angel, our girls are grown, joining university. The world is a crazier place than when you left it. Now more than ever we need sweet guardian angels like you watching over our children. Watch over us and until we meet again, forever you will be in my heart.
Posted by Serge Mupenzi on 23rd November 2015
Three years gone by, but still feels like yesterday. It’s your passing anniversary, but it also feels like the anniversary of the passing of all my anniversaries. No anniversary of mine feels the same after you passed: birthdays, wedding anniversary, Christmas and New Year; they all miss your magical touch. Rest in peace my sister. I miss you.
Posted by Gege Buki on 23rd November 2015
Dear Sifa, today specially again I remember you, your smile, your big heart, our friendship,......Rest in eternal peace and you are missed.
Posted by Serge Mupenzi on 10th September 2015
I guess you are having lots of Jimmylas moments now!! I can only imagine the worm hugs you gave him and caring words you said to comfort him. But I think now you are both having fun watching us from heaven, and guiding us like you’ve always done. Heaven can use you for now, but you will always be our angels. I miss both of you so much, and it still hurts!
Posted by Lambert Rangira on 24th November 2014
No words till now! Forever in our memory. Blessings to family
Posted by Gege Buki on 23rd November 2014
My friend Sifa it is now 2 years and I still can't believe you are gone. I cherish our relation and your friendship in my heart. RIP again. May God always protect Joseph, Odette and Daniel. Gege
Posted by Gege Buki on 23rd November 2014
My friend Sifa it is now 2 years and I still can't believe you are gone. I cherish our relation and your friendship in my heart. RIP again. May God always protect Joseph, Odette and Daniel. Gege
Posted by Irene Gathinji on 23rd November 2014
Its two years since you suddenly left us and I miss you dearly. I think of you daily as I drive through our street past the lovely house you lived in and the spot where the tragedy happened. I think of you when I remember our conversations about – oh so many topics - and mostly our girls and their future. I think of you when something is beyond me and the phrase that you used so well “only God knows”. I think of you when I hold my kindle to read – you introduced me to this gadget and gave me as a gift. I think of you in many ways and I miss you. Because “only God knows”, I have learnt in the past year to turn my missing you into a prayer. I miss you = I pray for Joseph, I miss you = I pray for Odette, I miss you = I pray for Daniel, I miss you = I pray for your mom, your siblings, your extended family and those people who miss you as I do. I thank God for sustaining and healing your family. May He continue to provide for them at the point of their need. In this past year too, my dad joined you and as I bid him goodbye, I was consoled that he will find you there and it will be a matter of time and I too will come. Until then, I will miss you and pray for those you left behind.
Posted by Lambert Rangira on 27th November 2013
I will never forget. And, I am still speechless a year later. But, God is good. Sifa, an outstanding sister in Christ, now living forever with our Lord. We miss you but... we praise the Lord by faith. Amen.
Posted by Jolly Karemangingo on 23rd November 2013
Une Annee deja, son esprit vive est toujours ici,... RIP.
Posted by Gaston Ntabana on 24th June 2013
A loss for humanity, period. We will remember Sifa as a beautiful wife and a mother of unsurpassed love
Posted by Michel Croteau on 8th January 2013
Hi Jeff, Odette et Daniel. I have a so nice memory of your family. What happend is hawfull and I think of you. Sifa is now an angel that will take care of you. Hope that you will find the force to pass trough this. Marion and Quentin think also about you. Take care and you're welcome at home if you pass by
Posted by Akuete Sossavi on 8th January 2013
Dear Sifa. When this morning, I learned about your departure to the LORD, I asked myself why so soon? Why not giving us few more years? Then our LORD answered me with the following: "I have things to have done here and she is the best fit for it. I sent her to help the world but I need her now".Thank you for everything you have done. Your dream for this world will continue forever.Peace.
Posted by Victoria Trabosh on 7th January 2013
I miss you dear friend. When we met 7 years ago you dazzled me with your focus and passion. You are one of those I will choose to honor more by my action than my grief. Murakoze cyane for all you gave to the world. To Jeff and the children I send you my deepest condolences. May you see Sifa in the brightest moments of your life and know she is with you always. Mama Itafari
Posted by Lambert Rangira on 4th January 2013
The departure of a great lady has left us with a huge void and sorrow. Nevertheless, the Lord is faithful and has given our Sifa more that what she could ever experience down here: Everlasting Life with our Creator. Praise the Lord. We shall meet again by God's grace. We love you so much. May the Lord heal the Nsengimanas and the Munyaburangas.
Posted by Gege Buki on 20th December 2012
A Jeff et les enfants, Jose, Ngandu, Safi, Alain, que le Bon Dieu reconforte vos coeurs et gloire a Son Nom. Sifa was a great person.
Posted by Gege Buki on 20th December 2012
Dear Sifa i can see that you was a great person when i am seeing all those nice words on you. I am happy and praise the Lord to have given me the opportunity to know and be friend with you. We were dreaming that our life will take us back in the same country where our husband and kids would have known much each and one. But you are gone now. I will always cherish our friendship. RIP
Posted by Andrea Munya on 7th December 2012
I close my eyes as I wipe a tear. I just keep wishing u were still here. I will hold all the memories deep in my heart. Through these memories will never part. I just keep wishing this pain would disappear. I didn’t get the chance to say my last good-bye. I just didn’t think u could ever die. All of your love I will always hold near. In my heart and my mind I will never be alone
Posted by Shema Kalisa on 7th December 2012
Aunty: you have truly inspired me to Live freely, Love passionately and Share always. You took time to help me choose colleges and decide a major. You gave me sound advice and inspired me when my goals changed and in some of my darkest times. You always told me I had beautiful hands. Thank you. I hope to one-day leave a legacy that is even a fraction as enduring, meaningful and worthy
Posted by Angeline Gasani on 4th December 2012
You listened to your inner voice at a young age, had the courage to act on it and in the process, made the lives of many people more bearable. I hope to one day be able to follow into your footsteps and help make this world a better one. Rest in peace Sifa.
Posted by Nsama Chikwanka on 2nd December 2012
SIFA!!! I am shell shocked at your sudden demise, 3 days after your email detailing how busy you'd be week of Nov 26 when I was to be in your backyard. No wonder yo phone was unanswered Nov 29! Memories of you & Joseph sitting opposite me during our rushed Nov 6 JHB lunch as I returned from Judithbakr/Lady Smith to pick books for poor Zambian kids are indelible. To Jo & kids: IT IS WELL
Posted by Angelique Gasaro on 1st December 2012
Most people follow the path wherever it leads them. Others hack their own way through the brush and always seem to end up on higher ground. Sifa Nsengimana was of the second sort. Forever Rest Peace.
Posted by Laetitia Rwiyegura on 30th November 2012
A place in heaven is where you sit, looking at that star you lit. In our thoughts forever you will be, never knowing why someone set you free. Sifa, I met you only once, and that was enough to know the kind of Angel you are and love you.
Posted by Freddy Musoni on 30th November 2012
Dear Sifa, I will miss you dearly because of your kindness and your gentle spirit. I always enjoyed the Xmas holidays we spent together in Loma Linda, California with the whole clan. To my brother Jeff and my lil Odette & our prince Daniel, may God comfort you with his unconditional love during these trying times. Much love, Freddy Rutinduka.
Posted by Angelique Murekatete on 30th November 2012
Your legacy will live through us!! Rest in peace Sifa!!!
Posted by Ken Wegrzyn on 30th November 2012
We were shocked to learn of Sifa’s passing. Sifa was the kind of person that always had a smile, a lot of energy, and a genuine warmth that just drew you close. Even when you first met her it was like you’ve been part of her family for a long time. We will miss her greatly. Our thoughts, prayers, tears, and smiles because of good memories are with Joseph, Odette, and Daniel. --Ken & Sandi
Posted by Lynne Tirrell on 30th November 2012
It is tragic for the world to lose Sifa, whose vision, grace, and energy so blessed all whom she met. Her work to stop the genocide in Darfur was just one piece of a beautiful mosaic of activism and love. May all of Sifa’s family and close friends find peace in carrying forward the values she worked so hard to promote in the world: peace, love, dignity, and respect. RIP, beautiful soul.
Posted by Mathilde Mukantabana on 30th November 2012
It is very hard to comprehend and to make sense of your passing Sifa but you lit a fire that will keep warming the lives and hearts of those who had the privilege to cross your path. You were like a meteor for you left too soon. But like a shining star your light will live on forever. Jeff, you always called each other Angel. She is now your Angel in the real sense and she will watch over you an
Posted by Gatsinzi Basaninyenzi on 30th November 2012
Dear Sifa, these lines from Elton John's poem "Candle in the Wind" seem fitting here: "I never knew you at all/...[but] I would have liked to have known you."
Posted by Jolly Karemangingo on 30th November 2012
Parti si tot. J'aurais aime de connaitre et apprendre plus de Sifa, Si juste et Gentille . Ainsi que ta famille , et nombreux de ceux que tu as inspiree ; Je me souviendrai de toi toujours. Que la terre te soit Legere ,et sans doute, le ciel est ouvert ... RIP SIFA
Posted by Shaiya Baer on 29th November 2012
While the world is,a more compassionate place because of your life's work, we are nonetheless at a loss; who could possibly take your place?.
Posted by Jean-baptiste Rudatsikira on 29th November 2012
At this time we mourn but also celebrate Aunt Sifa's amazing life and try to continue her legacy of love, compassion, and working to make the world a better place. We know that God will keep give us the strength we need at this difficult time.
Posted by Consolee Nishimwe on 29th November 2012
Dearest Sifa, You were taken from us so soon and you will be missed so much. You have touched so many lives and made so many feel loved, cared for. Your memories will be cherished. May your soul rest in Peace.
Posted by Jacqueline Murekatete on 29th November 2012
To our beautiful,brilliant and loving Aunt Sifa, We have no words to express how we feel at this time about your passing. We miss you so much already but remain grateful for having had you in our lives. We will be forever inspired by you. Thank you for living the life that you led and for teaching us so much. We love you, miss you dearly, and will never forget you. Jacqueline & JB
Posted by Thamar Kabayiza on 29th November 2012
Sifa, you will always be remembered as a kind and caring person by those lives you touched. Our prayers and thoughts are with your family during this difficult time. Rest in peace. Thamar and family.
Posted by Nicaise Nkurunziza on 29th November 2012
À toute la famille de Sissi Sifa, je vous présente toutes mes condoléances. Je me sens privilegie de t'avoir connu. Je terminerai avec ce petit mot en swahili: ase nini : semesha tantine épaulette. Repose en paix
Posted by Augustin Nkusi on 29th November 2012
Dear Sifa , It was very sad for me to hear about this accident that claimed your life. I remember when we met for the first time at Colorado university in April 2007 on a conference . You showed me how far you love Rwanda and all Africans especially when you were advocating for South Sundanese dying of hanger . Rest in Peace
Posted by Faith Mbabazi on 29th November 2012
Sifa, i will miss you dearly..but mostly the children you gave help give hope for the future at Agahozo Shalom village.You are gone too soon.May the God lord help us carry on your legacy.
Posted by Christine Moro on 29th November 2012
Such a beautiful, intelligent and inspirational woman taken from us far too soon. I only met you briefly but you left an indelible memory. Joseph my prayers are with you and the children for your tragic loss. May her memory and the many people whose lives she touched bring you some comfort.
Posted by Rutembesa Didier on 29th November 2012
Her youthfullness and her purpose driven life will be missed by many of those young people in Rwamagana who looked at her as a role-model ! Her actions will definately be an inspiration for future generations in Rwanda ! Imana imwakire mu bayo !
Posted by Désiré Kamanzi on 29th November 2012
I thank God to have crossed your path and known you Sifa... I cherish every second I've spent with you and painfully miss your beautiful and contagious smile, your warmth, kindness, generosity: YOU. My deepest condolences to your kids, Jeff, Alain and your entire family. Rest In Peace Sifa and Glory be to God!
Posted by Oscar Bayingana on 28th November 2012
Sifa, the untimely death has snatched you at such time when many people were in a great need of you, in many ways. Your goodness, kindness and social engagement will be remembered by a number of people in different parts of the world you've lived in. May your soul rest in peace.
Posted by Romain Rurangirwa on 28th November 2012
Dear Sifa, "what moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day with you, one more word; we may not understand why you left this earth so soon, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. We love and miss you." RIP

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