President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette yesterday joined thousands of Rwandans and friends of Rwanda in a ‘Walk to Remember’ from Parliament Buildings to Amahoro National Stadium in Remera, Kigali.
The Walk, in the evening, is a brainchild of Rwandan youth as a way to stand against genocide and also to remember those who died and stand in solidarity with survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Sporting a black Jumper, black pants, and white and black sneakers, the President joined the youth and government officials for the walk that is traditionally held in the afternoon of the first day of commemoration and precedes the night vigil at the Amahoro Stadium.
Throughout the walk, he was engaged in conversation with various participants, ranging from young men and women, to foreign dignitaries.
Among the foreign dignitaries who accompanied the President include Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, US Permanent Representative to United Nations Samantha Powers, Gabonese first lady Sylvia Bongo, American Orthodox Rabbi Stimuley Boteach, among others.
What Walk means
The youthful marchers began streaming at Parliament Buildings as early as 2pm.
The Walk provided a chance for many young Rwandans to freely interact with the President and the First Lady, both shaking hands with the crowd and engaging them in conversation.
The 30-minute walk that commenced at 5:30pm took participants through Kisimenti shopping centre and into the stadium where a night vigil was observed.
Speaking to The New Times, participants said the Walk signifies their unity in the stand against genocide and a chance to remember those slaughtered in the atrocities.
Robert Kayihura, 19, said he saw the Walk as a chance to show that he will always be united with the rest of the young generation to stand against genocide.
“I might not have been born during the Genocide but that doesn’t mean I have not learnt from it or was not affected by it. Coming here to participate in the Walk is a sign that I stand with my compatriots to see to it that it never happens again,” Kayihura said.
Alicia Porter, an American volunteer, said participating in the Walk was to show solidarity and respect for the lives lost in the Genocide and sharing in Rwanda’s dream.