NIRDA staff commemorates and pays tribute to 1994 Genocide victims

Visitors have moment of silenece during the commemoration

Staff of National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) on Wednesday 10th/04/2019 joined Huye district officials and residents during the 25th commemoration of the1994 Genocide against the Tutsis with the theme “Remember, Unit and Renew”.

The commemoration began on Tuesday with the NIRDA staff and residents in Huye having a night vigil at the institution where, around a big fire, paid tribute to former workers who perished during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

The event served specifically to honor employees who were killed, comfort survivors and the orphans left behind. The night was preceded with a walk to remember from the NIRDA offices to the University of Rwanda Huye Genocide Memorial Site, where they paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide.

At the memorial site, members laid wreaths in honor of the Genocide victims buried there as many were reminded that as we remember, we also forgive and keep fighting genocide ideologies so that the genocide is never again experienced.

After visiting the memorial, members walked back to the NIRDA memorial where the main event of the day was held.

Giving her speech, the Director General Kampeta Sayinzoga thanked all those that managed to spend time with the institution while they remembered their staff that perished during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis and called upon everyone to fight against the ideology.

“We are here to remember the over a million people that perished during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. Our institution lost 21 staff members during the time and today we remember their history, what they stood for, what they loved most, their values and the way they cared for their families” said Sayinzoga

She thanked the government and the army that stopped the genocide and liberated the country from the killers and brought peace and tranquility to Rwandans.

“Many Tutsis lost their lives, children were massacred, women were raped and men brutally killed throwing the country into chaos. However the army rushed in and peace and order was restored.  So today, we remember and remind every Rwandan that it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight genocide ideology and to see that what happened in 1994 should never happen again.

The Guest of honor during the commemoration, Mayor of Huye Sebutege Ange noted that a lot happened here at this institution and  that every single person in one way or another was affected by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis and that the effects are still impacting on the country’s development to this day.

“There was a lot of brutality during the Genocide and many Tutsis were discriminated against during the time. However we are now past that, the people are united and the country has moved on thanks to the good governance by our leaders. It’s everyone’s responsibility to work towards the development of our country and to fight the ideology for a future,” said Sebutege

Messages from different speakers who graced the event focused on this year’s commemoration theme about remembering, uniting and renewing and they reminded those present to fight genocide denial.

NIRDA staff together with Huye residents during a walk to remember at Huye. Photos by Joseph Mudingu.

Rwagasana Stanislas’s testimony on surviving the Genocide

I started school at an early age of 5 in 1965 and during that time it was not easy because we were discriminated against and that is the reason I never went far with my studies like other kids.

Am 59 years now and I still recall the horrors that led to the 1994 genocide and my survival depended on many factors one being the family I was staying with.

Before the Genocide, I used to work in Butare but I was warned by one soldier to leave and never come back. I went to Muhanga and stayed there for a while and later returned to Butare in search of work.

Reaching there, there was a road block and unfortunately the same soldier was commanding the post. After seeing me, he claimed that he knew me and that we fought against each other in Mutara and that I was “Ikotanyi”. He tried to get me out of the taxi but the passengers refused to leave me behind.

So with luck I survived many different incidences before and after the Genocide and latter I decided to educate other kids who were unprivileged and victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.

He recalls that during the Genocide, he helped many people escape the killers because he knew short cuts that led to Burundi.

“I took over 1000 people who were running away from the killers through hidden trails that I knew very well to Burundi. I have so far educated 19 kids of which many have finished University and are now successful. I gave them what I didn’t manage to get and that is an education” said Rwagasana.