Kwibuka24: Last queen Gicanda remembered

Family and friends lay a wreath on the grave of Queen Gicanda. Frederic Byumvuhore.

Officials from The Institute National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) ,in partnership with family and friends, and Southern Province authorities, gathered in Nyanza last Friday to commemorate the last Queen of Rwanda, Rosalie Gicanda, who was killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Honouring the memory of the slain Queen, the mourners gathered for mass at the Mater Dei Secondary School in Nyanza before laying wreaths at the King Mutara III Rudahigwa and Queen’s tombs at Mwima, near the King’s Palace Museum-Rukari.

Gicanda was the wife to King Rudahigwa.

The event featured testimonies about the exceptional character of the Queen.

Father Martin Mudenderi, who spent days with the Queen, spoke of her character as a true Christian with a loving heart, humble, friendly, generous and so beautiful.

Mudenderi said that during the Queen’s lifetime she dedicated her time to praying and interacting with different people, old and young.

“I had known the Queen from around 60’s. She was so kind, sociable and full of humility. She respected and loved everyone. She dedicated most of her time to prayer,” the priest said.

Protais Mutembe, who spoke on behalf of the family, encouraged Rwandans to embrace love and  fight against any kind of discrimination.

Amb. Robert Masozera, the Director General of INMR, said that although  the Queen was characterised by kindness and love for all, the genocidiaires didn’t spare her. He thanked the Government for deciding to keep the Queen’s history by transforming her home in Huye town into a museum.

Marie Rose Mureshyankwano, the Southern Province governor, said the Queen’s legacy and the effort to honour her was a kind of school from where people get knowledge.

She said that when people talk about the character of the slain queen, it should not stop at listening to testimonies.’’ People should take practical steps to emulate her,’’ she said.

Mureshyankwano encouraged National Museums of Rwanda to keep the history appropriately to enable successivegenerations to learn from the heroism that characterised Rwanda’s monarch.


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