The University of Rwanda, College of Education staff, students and the neighboring community held a series of events marking the 24th Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi. The events consisted of public talks, visit to KIZIGURO Genocide Memorial Site, Walk to remember and a Night Vigil.
SAFARI B. Theoneste delivering a public talk A section of participants to the public talk
The public talks were delivered by different speakers that included Dr. BUHIGIRO Jean Leonard, Dr. MUNYAKAYANZA Jean Francois, both lecturers and researchers in the field of History in the College of Education, and Honorable SAFARI B. Theoneste, Member of Parliament, Chamber of Deputies. Discussions focused on the understanding of the difference between the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and earlier atrocities committed in Rwanda, how the Genocide against the Tutsi was implemented and evidence to prove its execution, and the uniqueness of Rwanda in handling the consequences of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
At KIZIGURO Genocide Memorial Site, the delegation was welcomed by the Executive Secretary of Kiziguro Sector, Mr. HATEGEKIMANA Achille Samson, accompanied by the in-charge of Good Governance in the Sector, Mr. NDENGERA Patrick and the Chairperson of the Sector Council, Mrs. UMUNEZERO Particia.
Welcoming the delegation, the Executive Secretary commended the University of Rwanda, College of Education, for the choice to visit KIZIGURO Genocide Memorial in order to understand the history of the country and pay respects to the victims of the genocide against the Tutsi who are laid there to rest.
On behalf of the College Principal, the head of the delegation, Dr. KARANGWA Evariste, indicated that the visit was organized to pay respects to the victims of the genocide against the Tutsi, show solidarity with the survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi. He explained that the visit helps to learn from the Rwanda’s history and to find out how they can contribute to the fight against genocide ideology. He also said that the University of Rwanda, College of Education, allocated an amount of money as a contribution to the maintenance services of the memorial site.
The visitors toured the memorial site guided by the in-charge of Governance in the Sector, Mr. NDENGERA Patrick. They were taken through the history of the genocide against the Tutsi in the former MURAMBI Commune, particularly in KIZIGURO, on the instigation of the then bourgmaster, Jean Baptiste GATETE. They also listened to the testimony of Mrs. UMUNEZERO Patricia, who survived to the genocide at KIZIGURO.
In her testimony, Mrs. UMUNEZERO indicated that the Tutsi were put together before they were savagely killed and thrown into the very deep pit, which is today part of the memorial site. She further explained that among thousands of the victims thrown there only eleven could sustain death until they were rescued by the RPA troops.
Members of the team took time to pay their respects to the genocide victims and laid wreaths of flowers to where they are laid to rest.
UR-CE delegation laying wreaths at the memorial site
The College staff, students and the neighboring community stood together in a Walk to Remember that was followed by a night vigil in which started from the Campus down to the Lake MUHAZI. In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of GAHINI Sector, Mr. RUKERIBUGA Joseph, underscored the importance of the walk. He emphasized on the respect to pay to the victims of genocide against the Tutsi who were thrown into the lake and the lessons drawn from the country’s dark history in the process of the nation building.
UR-CE Staff, students and the neighboring community in the Walk to Remember
The Night Vigil which followed the Walk was observed through the lighting of the flame and candles of hope for the future, the sketch played by AERG members on the History of Rwanda, the testimony of the survivor of the genocide against the Tutsi, Mr. MUDAHERANWA. It was also featured by messages from different personalities who included Prof. Phil COTTON, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Rwanda, Bishop Alexis BIRINDABAGABO, leader of GAHINI Anglican Church, RUKERIBUGA Joseph, Executive Secretary of GAHINI Sector, IBUKA Chairperson, among others.
In his remarks, Prof. Phil COTTON noted that commemorating the genocide against the Tutsi especially for young people enables them to understand well the history of the country so that they can be able to shape its future. He pointed out that the youth are like a star in the darkness; hence they are challenged to uphold positive values for the development of the country.
From the left in front , Bishop Alexis BIRINDABAGABO, Mr. RUKERIBUGA Joseph and Prof Phil COTTON
Bishop Alexis BIRINDABAGABO shared his experience as a senior church leader, who witnessed the tragic events of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and the lessons learnt during the peace-building process he himself has been involved in.
AERG Members performing a sketch on the History of Rwanda
He underscored unfortunate fate of evildoers and thus called on everybody to do good and avoid the evil for a peaceful life. He reiterated the importance of commemorating the genocide against the Tutsi in order to avoid its recurrence. He urged the youth to fight against the genocide ideology which he depicted like a cancer in the body and stand firm with the country’s achievements.
Speaking on behalf of the guest of honour, the Executive Secretary of GAHINI Sector, Mr. RUKERIBUGA Joseph lauded the College of Education for the smooth organization of the commemoration events and the significant number of participants.
Mr. RUKERIBUGA Joseph, ES/GAHINI Sector addressing participants
He noted that commemorating the genocide against the Tutsi helps understand well the history of the country and that it was a source of determination to avoid the recurrence of the genocide. He emphasized that young people should separate themselves from all evil ways which might lead to destroy their own country. He comforted the survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi and assured them that they are not alone. He encouraged them to keep on rebuilding and trust the good leadership of the country.
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University of Rwanda, College of Education