Today, Rwanda observes the 25th anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi, a dark era in the country’s history during which over a million innocent people were mercilessly slaughtered.
The commemoration this year has a special focus on the youth.
Given that the youth were used in many ways to kill as much many of their peers were victims of the same horrors, 25 years later, what have we learnt? As leaders of tomorrow, how best can it be ensured that history will not repeat itself? The New Times’ Martina Abera Kabagambe talked to students from different schools who shared their views on how they can be groomed to be responsible and efficient future leaders.
Ivan Kanyensigye, S5, Kagarama Secondary School
I think if one wants to take up leadership roles in the future, they need to start as early as possible. I am currently the president of the Interact Club at my school. This will give me the opportunity to gain leadership skills and learn how to associate with those that I lead, putting forward what is best for them. Being a member of AERG is very crucial to me as well. Learning from our mistakes and moving on is how our nation grows and develops.
David Kalimba, S6, Kagarama Secondary School
One of the things that inspire me to be a leader of tomorrow is our current Government. The effort and measures put in place that is seen in how far our nation has come since 1994 is amazing. Our parents play a big role in our level of patriotism. If our parents don’t really care about the nation, we will grow with the same attitude. So, we learn from their level of patriotism—we are also encouraged to carry the torch.
Boris Karenzi, S4, Kagarama Secondary School
As an aspiring leader of tomorrow, one of the things I will emphasise is the development and growth of this nation. I believe in organisations such as iDebate that encourage Rwandan youth to develop a voice for themselves and gain skills that will take them to the next level. Such organisations energise the youth to take up more leadership roles, to see to it that the country moves forward, not backwards.
Danny Kalisa, S4, Kagarama Secondary School
My goal is to become the Minister for Justice in the future. This is because I believe justice needs to be served fairly. The President of the Republic of Rwanda is my role model.
Building Rwanda from the ground up since 1994 is not an easy task to achieve. I wish that the youth of this nation would start engaging in activities that contribute to the growth of the country and learn more about their nation. This way, they will know how to progress.
Arnold Murigande, S6, Kagarama Secondary School
In the future, as a leader, I would like to eradicate corruption completely. I will lead by example and ensure that everyone is treated fairly.
Organisations such as Peace and Love Proclaimers (PLE) which establish a positive change in the world through unity, peace and development, are the kind of thing the youth need to be a part of. This will not only educate them on past happenings in the country, but help them learn from their history and train them to re-build.
Samia Gaju, S5, Kagarama Secondary School
I want to be the person who will bring about change in my society. I believe that for the youth to make a difference in this nation, we need to be mentored by the leaders of today.
If our leaders visit schools all over the nation, students can learn from them and have a boost in their own patriotism. We need guidance so that we can lead this country the right way in the future.
Enock Manzi, S5, Lycee de Kigali
I am glad that associations like “Never Again” are in place to help the youth, and empower us to live in harmony and become agents of peace and justice in our communities.
Such organisations are able to keep the commemoration spirit alive and ensure a safe space for people to heal and grow.
Gisele Izibyose, S5, Kagarama Secondary School
As I aspire to be a future leader, the first thing I want to do is fight discrimination of any kind. In our society, people should not be judged by the way the look, how they dress or where they come from.
Looking at the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, I came to the realisation that this kind of segregation will only cause harm.
I would like to contribute to the current peaceful atmosphere of the country.
Martha Ingabire, S5, Kagarama Secondary School
Being one of the leaders of AERG at my school helps me educate my peers on the history of our country.
This motivates me to learn more about my country because as a leader, one needs to be a good example to those they lead. I also think the Minister of the Youth should set up boot camps that offer training to the youth all over the country.
This would massively reduce the ignorance the youth have on the past events of the nation, thus being better candidates for responsible leaders of tomorrow.
Keza Melissa S4, Wellspring Academy
Even though some youngsters say it’s still too early to think about a career path, I have mine all mapped out. I want to be the future Minister for Youth.
I would like to empower them and give them a voice of their own so that they too can make an impactful change to our nation. This country needs leaders that will fight for a cause that is true and meaningful, and fighting against Genocide ideology is a perfect example of that.
Steve Mugabo, S3, St. Ignace High School
I am really grateful that my school encourages teamwork. The saying goes, there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’, and so we should always strive to work together and continue building our nation as one.
Schools play a very crucial role in shaping the minds of students. The history of Rwanda should be emphasised so that the youth grow up conscious of what they need to fight for.
Rose Irebe, S3, Riviera High School
The thought of being able to one day lead my nation to greatness is a dream. Though the scars and wounds from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi still run deep, we as a country have been able to rise up and make a name for ourselves. I believe if parents keep teaching their children about the tragic events that occurred in the past, our generation will not be drawn back to the horrors we suffered 25 years ago.
Ken Ntwari, S6, King David Academy
Our leaders played a great role in building us from ashes. However, they didn’t liberate our country and make the sacrifices that they did for it to end with them.
It is upon the youth to take initiative and carry on the torch.
Teachers need to nurture patriotism in students so that they have a natural love for their nation, as opposed to being forced to care.