Former students of Nyange School in Ngororero District, classified in Imena national heroes’ category have been hailed for promoting unity.
Justice Minister Johnston Busingye expressed this over the weekend when he led ministry staff to pay tribute to the Nyange School heroes.
The attack of Interahamwe at the school in March 1997 is a tragic history that left a lesson for the current and future generations.
The students were killed after refusing to separate themselves between Tutsis and Hutus.
The victims of the attack were declared national heroes.
Minister Busingye urged students and locals to shun evil.
“Nobody is too stupid to distinguish good from bad. Avoid the evil and embrace the good because the good shall always prevail.”
According to Busingye “Ndi Umunyarwanda”, a programme aimed to promote unity, originates from Nyange.
“They showed us who a true Rwandan is. They knew who Tutsi and Hutu were and knew that they would have survived, had they accepted to separate. At such a young age, they resisted and stuck to the answer that they were all Rwandans. Everyone should remember this and ask themselves how they would respond, were they asked such a question,” he said.
The big lesson from them, he noted, is that we should always be ready to defend our unity at any cost. For our country to revive, it required bitter but fruitful choices whereby Nyange incident is a case study.
Whoever might ask us to divide ourselves softly or forcibly, whether at gunpoint or politics, religion, economics, name it, we should be ready to echo the answer “We are all Rwandans”, a great heritage from Nyange students.
He called on the youth to safeguard and champion unity, the primary asset the country has and the foundation of today and tomorrow’s prosperity.
The ministry staff also visited the Nyange Genocide memorial that is under construction. The notorious priest Athanase Seromba ordered a caterpillar to destroy the church, killing thousands of Tutsi who had taken refuge in it.
Minister Busingye said this was due to bad politics and leadership that had promoted impunity. “They did this thinking they would get away with it”.
Tom Ndahiro, member of council of the Chancellery of Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour also commended the heroic acts of Nyange students.
“They had grown up in a divisive society and had been taught ethnicity but they sidestepped divisionism and died for the country, they rescued it,” he said.
Phanuel Sindayiheba and Angelique Nkunduwera, who survived the attack, delivered testimonies of the horrific evening of March 18, 1997.
Sindayiheba who is also the president of Komezubutwari, an association of Nyange attack survivors also urged the youth to make good choices.
“Many young people made a bad choice by participating in the Genocide. But there are also others who made a good choice and stopped it. The youth should keep in mind that their choices will shape the future of the nation,” he said.
Nyange School was created by an association of parents in 1988. It currently has 328 students and 19 teachers.
What do current students think of Nyange heroes?
For me, it’s a privilege to be studying at this school.
When I remember the people who lost their lives for the sake of unity, I am inspired to have great personality and to be a real hero.
They are building my future because their legacy will guide me for the rest of my life.
I can give anything for my country, said Cynthia Uwase, Senior Four.
What I learn from them is patriotism.
If you aren’t patriotic, you cannot do such a heroic act.
They set an example for every youth to champion unity, said Laurent Karuhije, Senior Six.
Based on what happened, discrimination is not good.
I am always eager to emulate them because they have been good to us.
I take them my role models and urge others to follow suit so that we can build our country, said Doreen Umutoni Senior Six.
What I learn from them is love.
They used to love each other and that’s why some of them lost their lives.
I also have to love others regardless of differences, said Osborne Ngoma, Senior Three.
It gives me a great inspiration that no matter how bad the situation, we have to remain together as Rwandans.
Their legacies, in addition to the teachings we get, always motivate us, said Fiona Alia, Senior Four.
Studying in a school with such a history that the entire world learns from is invaluable.
We have models whose foot steps we are proud to follow, said Camille Ngirinshuti, Senior Six.