Musicians, both local and regional, on Tuesday, performed for thousands of mourners, in Kicukiro District, Kigali, where a ceremony to commemorate 15 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, was presided over by President Paul Kagame.
The ceremony to remember and pay tribute to the over a million people who perished during the genocide, attracted Rwandans, and delegates from different corners of the world, including famous musicians from the region.
Regional performers included Kenyan based Burundian singer Kidumu, Uganda’s diva group Blue3, Kenya’s Nameless and Tanzania’s T.I.D.
Local musicians included Miss Shanel, Miss JoJo, Allen Gahongaire, Miss Tonzi, Intore Masamba and Jean Paul Samputu, DJ Degaule, Kitoko and local gospel music group Rehoboth Choir amongst others.
Later that night the same musicians joined thousands of Rwandans at Amahoro National Stadium for an all night vigil attended by President Kagame and other dignitaries who listened to the musicians performing healing songs through out the night.
Their song “Never Again,” a collaboration of different local and regional musicians, was sung to inspire hope among the genocide survivors. The song was composed by celebrated gospel singer Jean Paul Samputu.
The emotional artistes expressed their sorrow through the song, leaving mourners in tears. Moving testimonies and poems from the survivors were also given as many people in the crowd also lit their own candles.
Different activities in line with the commemoration were carried out, and these included: visiting memorial sites, wearing purple pieces of cloth to affirm the ‘Never Again’ vow and a candle lighting event at the Stadium.
A movie about the Genocide, ‘Wrong Coat’, featuring prominent Rwandan figures such as Miss Shanel, Mani Martin and football player Jimmy Gatete, was shown on the giant screen in the stadium.
The movie, based on a true story, is about a young couple that defied all odds to love each other despite their ethnic difference to the chagrin of the boy’s parents, who were strongly against their son having an affair with a young Tutsi woman who survived the Genocide.
Notable global celebrities from their homes also joined Rwandans to light candles these included; Ben Affleck, Samuel L Jackson, Sandra Bullock, Forrest Whitaker, politicians Tony Blair, Nancy Pelosi, David Cameron as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu were among those who lit the candle of hope.