Rwandans will join hands to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi starting on Thursday.
During this period artists remember those who lost their lives through various creative and innovative artworks like poetry, dance, film, fashion, arts, and music.
Leopold Gasigwa is a 36-year-old Rwandan, and a survivor who lost his family during the Genocide. Gasigwa is the brain behind ‘Izingiro ry’amahoro’ documentary that scooped this year’s award for the ‘Best Documentary’ in the Rwanda Movie Awards.
Gasigwa’s 1hour and 50 minute documentary tells the history behind the origin of the Genocide, its implementation, and the rebuilding of the nation after the Genocide.
“Art is something critical, it is the reason I chose this means of communication to easily connect with the young people and other people who don’t have an idea or do not understand very well what our country has passed through,” he said.
Gasigwa said that when the Genocide was about to take place artistes and media personalities fuelled and supported the perpetrators.
“Throughout the Genocide in 1994 music became a tool for propaganda, with the songs of artists working on behalf of the government; helping to encourage the killings. People like Simon Bakindi is the true example of the power of art; Bikindi’s songs, which called for Hutu solidarity against Tutsis were broadcast repeatedly before and during the Genocide by Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM),” he recalls.
He says that the only way to tell his personal stories was through film making.
“I remember one time, there’s this doctor who was giving us a testimony about Genocide; he said that while most people believe that genocide was completely stopped, there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done to completely wipe it out. This is how I developed the idea,” he said.
Gasigwa says that he decided to do film making, because it’s one of the ways to narrate what happened before, during and after the Genocide by acting as the voice of most of the people who perished during that tragic moment, and those who never got the chance to say the truth.
Izingiro ry’amahoro is a 2015 documentary that was officially launched in 2013. The film has been screened in over eight secondary schools and universities. The documentary starred different politicians, professors, and ordinary people. Professor Deo Byanafashe, Erneste Mutwarasibo, Late Dr. Naasson Munyandamutsa, Andre Kibanguka, Tito Rutaremara, and Antoine Mugesera are some of the high profile people who feature in this documentary.
Gasigwa has released another documentary, L’abscé de la vérité. He is also set to launch his new film dubbed The Miracle and the Family in June.