The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed over a million people was a thoroughly organised crime. Music is one of the tools which was used to instigate killings. But today music is a tool being used to foster reconciliation and unity. And it is for this reason that traditional and cultural artistes converged at Kigali Serena Hotel last Friday to commemorate the 1994 Genocide through music.
Musicians Dieudonne Manyanshoza aka Mibirizi, Cecile Kayirebwa, Susanne Nyiranyamibwa and Maria Yohana Mukankuranga performed to comfort survivors. The event was organised by the associations of former and current student Genocide survivors in Rwanda (GAERG/AERG).
During the event, the artistes performed different songs with messages of hope, peace and reconciliation. A flame of hope was also lit as some survivors of the Genocide recollected their stories.
Munyanshoza took to the stage first performing songs like Mibilizi and Twarabakundaga, followed by Yohana and later Kayirebwa who also did Ubupfubyi and Ubutumwa.
The show also featured performances by other various singers such as Intore Masamba and Muyango.
According to the organisers, the concert was part of their campaign to support needy Genocide survivors.
On behalf of the Ministry of East African Community, Minister Valentine Rugwabiza, pledged Rwf1m which will go toward helping the survivors during the 100 days of commemoration.
Ibuka pledged Rwf100,000 while the Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Stella Ford Mugabo, pledged to educate one survivor until he or she completes the vocational and technical training.
The last session of the event saw Munyanshoza give his testimony about how he survived the Genocide, connecting it to why he decided to do music. He also took time to take people through most of his songs like Ntibizongere Kubaho, Nyanza ya Butare, and Imfura zo ku Mugote, among others.
The concert was graced by Julienne Uwacu, the Minister for Sports and Culture, who called on Rwandans to teach the younger generation about the history of Rwanda.
“I know it’s really difficult to explain what happened to Rwandans. However, we have to make sure that the future generations know about the bad history of our country, this is why we remember, and that’s what Kwibuka means,” she said.
The minister also urged artistes to continue with the positive message, as they have the power to communicate to the people.
The show was free but those who attended were required to buy a double CD pack with both audio and visual of the album at Rwf10, 000 with proceeds going to the cause.
This year’s commemoration is being held under the theme “Fighting Genocide Ideology”.