As Rwandans across the world continue to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, people have used different ways to commemorate the Genocide. For the youth in Kigali, it was through drama as they staged the annual ‘Our Past’ event at the Amphitheatre Kigali Genocide Memorial on Sunday. Through drama, they delivered a powerful message of hope and a reminder of what happened during the Genocide.
The event hosted by Sharon Bayingana, an aspiring poet, attracted hundreds of mourners, especially the youth.
It featured music performances by Gashora Girls Academy students and recitations from renowned poets Carmene Ella and Natasha Umuhoza, who recited a powerful poem depicting the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi (the situation before and after the Genocide.
Christian Intwari, the founder of ‘Our Past’, said the show aims to educate young people about the Genocide and to inspire them to take the initiative to rebuild the country through poetry, musical performances, drama, dance, theatre, and workshops with leaders.
“First of all we are pleased that many young people turned up for the event, which educates them and reminds them about what happened in the country 22 years ago. We can say that we have started noticing the impact of such events toward the young people,” he said.
A video of “Our Past” messages from all over the world was screened to the mourners during the event, before a group of Gashora Girls students returned to the stage in a short play that showed the history of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and how survivors are coping today.
Elysee Jabo, the last performer, delivered a touching poem dubbed “Forget Not Our Past” before he led the rest of the mourners in lighting the flame of hope. Justice Minister, Johnston Busingye was among the mourners.
Freddy Mutanguha, the Director of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, explained the history of Genocide that dates back to 1963 that saw mostly young people used as the tool to implement the killings.
“Young people you have the history you need to remember; there’s a history of those who were killed and there’s that one of those who were used to kill. People at the same age like you were taught to kill and later participated in the Genocide. This is important to remember because you become responsible after knowing the whole truth about your country,” he added.
Mutanguha urged the youth to be active in fighting Genocide ideology.
The organisers also used the occasion to fundraise for the needy Genocide survivors in Ntarama Village, Bugesera sector.
‘Our Past’ is organised by young Rwandans in the Diaspora under one umbrella, Sick City Entertainment Group.
This year’s event, which is the fifth edition, took place in different parts of the world, including Malaysia, China, and the United States. The show’s first edition was held in April 2012.