Angélique Pitteloud Gakoko was born in 1971 in Kigali, Rwanda. The youngest of a family of 11, her parents raised her in a spirit of racial tolerance.
Indeed her father helped set up a school for ethnic minorities barred from attending state schools by the ruling regime’s racially discriminating policies. Sadly, the tidal wave of racial violence that was the 1994 genocide caught up with her.
Many of family and friends perished but Angélique miraculously survived and she now works to defend oppressed minorities and challenge racial discrimination.
Angélique has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rwanda and a postgraduate degree in Project management from Switzerland, where she worked with the Swiss Red Cross for many years on the integration of refugees.
Between 2010 and 2015, as the wife of Switzerland’s ambassador to Kenya, Angélique ran the Swiss ambassadorial residence in Nairobi and worked as a fundraiser and as goodwill ambassador for the SOS Children’s Village in Kenya. At this time, Angélique founded the association Pro-Human Equality (P-HE) to end ethnic prejudice and tribalism. In the run-up to the 2013 General Election in Kenya, she was instrumental in producing one of the most successful peace songs “ HAKI YETU” (Our Right to live Together), which was aired on radio stations across the country.
The organisation’s next project was the making of an educational documentary film aimed at raising the awareness of school children to the dangers of ethnic and tribal divisions and teaching them the importance of maintaining a sense of unity and tolerance in the face of ethnic prejudice. As the director of P-HE, Angélique is now producing a documentary film based on the life of a Sudanese child soldier.
Now a mother and a Swiss citizen, she lives in Vevey with her husband and eleven year-old daughter working also as a writer.