One girl’s determination to fight genocide ideology through poetry


Ashimwe's dream is to inspire people, particularly the disabled, to achieve their goals. / Courtesy photo

Ange Theonastine Ashimwe is a young poet using her skills to preach unity and reconciliation.

Although she can’t walk as a result of a disability, she actively participated in the recent Walk to Remember, part of activities to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The 17-year-old student believes it is the calling of every Rwandan to fight genocide ideology.

“A Walk to Remember” is her latest poem and it portrays the story of the brutal events of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, a poem which she says was inspired by the recent ‘Walk to Remember’ event.

“On the day of the ‘Walk to Remember’ event recently, I was at the stadium and after listening to all the stories, I was inspired and immediately started writing. This poem is a message of love to our people, and a time to commit to building our country,” she says.

Ashimwe is a high school student pursuing History, Economics and Geography at Cyabingo Secondary School in Gakenke District in the Northern Province.

Ashimwe can’t walk, but being handicapped, she says, will not stop her from pursuing her dreams.

Born after the Genocide, she’s got dreams and describes herself as an ambitious girl who wants to use poetry as a platform to influence and inspire people, particularly those living with disabilities.

“I want to advocate for the people with physical disabilities and help them realise their potential. During my leisure time, I like to read books, write poems and carryout research on things happening in the world. This has literally helped build my confidence,” she says.

She notes that young people have a critical role to play in fighting genocide ideology, mostly using their talent.

“I think we are the chosen generation, a generation that has been blessed with all the opportunities and resources. We have to take the lead in fighting genocide ideology and use our talent to put an end to it,” she says.

A Pen of Gold, Rwanda, What is Life, Tomorrow will I be Recalled, If Fate Goes Against Me, and One Look At The Chair, among others, are some of the pieces she’s written.