There had been fears that when the prison nicknamed “1930” started to relocate its inmates to the new Mageragera facility, the old edifice could be demolished to give way to real estate development.
Yes, CHIC, a consortium of several business persons plans to build hundreds of apartments at the site but the prison will be left intact.
Rumours had been flying around that a foreign investor would redesign it into a high-end hotel demolishing part of the building but remaining with the front façade. But now that will not be
That is very good news for a building that had a dark past for more than 87 years.
The oldest prison facility was built in 1930 by Belgian colonialists has been a hallmark of Kigali’s hard to miss features.
One can now guess that “1930” will be turned into a museum just like Kandt House Museum (formerly Natural History Museum) just a stone throw away.
Museums are important features that remind us of our heritage, however painful or courageous. History - good or sad – should be preserved for our future generation. It should be able to chronicle all the stages the country went through, the struggles, triumphs and contributions to posterity.
Those who were unfortunate to be its unwilling tenants will be able to pass by or visit and reminisce what curtailing one’s freedom really means.
It should be a symbol to always strive to remain free, whatever the cost. That will be “1930”s contribution