First Lady Jeannette Kagame, yesterday, joined thousands of youths, mostly high school students in holidays, in a Walk to Remember, which started from the Parliament Buildings in Kimihurura up to Petit Stade in Remera.
VIDEO: First Lady Jeannette Kagame joins youth in Walk to Remember 2015. Source: The New Times/YouTube
The walk was jointly organised by the City of Kigali, represented by the Mayor Fidele Ndayisaba, and Peace and Love Proclaimers, a youth organisation.
During the walk and the subsequent discussions, the youth were engaged in remembering and honouring victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Officials told the youth stories of how the Genocide was stopped by soldiers formerly of Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) and assured the youngsters that the Genocide will never happen again.
In a presentation by Brig. Gen. Andrew Kagame shortly after the walk, he told the youth how RPA soldiers set off to stop the Genocide when it started on April 7 and how they were able to both rescue many people who were in danger of being killed by the Interahamwe militia and conquer a big area of the country in a very short time.
Kagame is the Commander of the Division One of the Rwanda Defence Forces, which operates in the City of Kigali and the Eastern Province.
He attributed the achievements of the RPA in securing the country to the good leadership of the army as well as its high level of discipline.
Kagame told the youth that the war goes on even if the armed struggle has ended, inviting them to play a role in enabling unity and reconciliation of Rwandans.
“You need to ensure that the country will never go back to darkness. That requires a lot of efforts, especially being selfless,” he told the youth.
By engaging the teenagers in a Walk to Remember, organisers of the event hope to instill in them the values that will ensure that Genocide doesn’t happen again.
“We are trying to change mindsets because a walk to remember is an educational programme. Young people walking seeking to make ‘never again’ a reality. It gives hope that Genocide can never happen again,” said Marc Gwamaka, founder of the annual Walk to Remember initiative.
One of the teens, Gilbert Mugwaneza, told The New Times that the walk is indeed for honouring and remembering victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In poems, songs, and plays that they presented at Petit Stade, the teenagers reiterated that they are happy to be Rwandans and vowed to confront the difficult history and build a bright future for themselves.
“The past should be our inspiration. After the Genocide, Rwanda has changed and continues to strive for development. Together, we can change a lot for our nation and unity counts,” some of the teenagers narrated in a collective poem.
Toward the end of the event, the Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, encouraged the youth to always fight against those who try to deny that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi took place.
She told them that one of the critical ways they can contribute toward building a happy country after the Genocide is by never allowing anyone to deny what happened.
“Those who committed the Genocide are interested in denying it, don’t give them a chance to do so; don’t shy away from telling the truth,” Uwacu said.
Walk to Remember was first held in 2009 and has since been taking place every year during the commemoration period. The national mourning week officially ends today