Although the event was geared towards Rwandan youth born after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, it attracted a mixed crowd of young and old, both local and foreigners.
Dubbed 100 Days, 100 Questions, the event involved a panel discussion and dialogue on the subject of the Genocide. It was spiced up by entertainment which came by way of inanga music from Deo Munyakazi, poetry from Eric 1Key, and some rhymes from Mike Kayihura.
The event took place Friday night at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi.
According to One Time, the youth organization that organized the forum, 100 Days, 100 Questions sought to furnish Rwandan youth with answers to some of their lingering questions about the events of 1994 and their after math in the post-Genocide dispensation.
A four-member panel was at hand to handle the different questions from the audience. These were; historian, author and former senator Antoine Mugesera, Uwera Beatrice, vice president of the Association of Graduate Genocide Survivors (GAERG), Francoise Murekatete, a psychologist with AVEGA-Agahozo (an association of Genocide widows) and Marc Gwamaka, the founder of Peace and Love Proclaimers (PLP) organization. Friday James, a news presenter on Rwanda Broadcasting Agency hosted the event.
The questions and panel discussions addressed four main topics; the history of Rwanda, the day-to-day life of the generation born after the Genocide, the effects of trauma on citizens and the development of the country, while the fourth topic, titled The Process, panelists discussed policies adopted by the government after the Genocide.
The audience was reminded about the factors that led to the Genocide, the actual events of 1994, and the aftermath, 24 years later, including the plight of survivors, orphans, widows, and those with trauma.
The youth were reminded of their duty in making sure that the history does not repeat itself.
While discussing the topic of children born after the Genocide, Uwera Beatrice explained that that generation includes children born of victims, those born of perpetrators, and others born out of rape. She explained how the children can all live together despite their traumatic past.
Mugesera weighed in on the huge toll trauma had taken on the country’s development trajectory. He reminded the gathering that although it is 24 years since the Genocide, there are still victims who have never moved on and still live in a traumatic state of mind.
The event was the first of its kind, but attracted a decent audience. Organizers revealed that they plan to make it an annual calendar event.
“Although I was born four years after the genocide, this is my time and opportunity to know what really happened and also to remember those who died or were affected,” revealed Clarisse Gift Umuhire, who attended the event.
“One Time (organizers) believes that the best change starts from within, that is why it started with the youth, the future leaders,” said Darius Kalisa, the founder and acting manager of One Time.