The South African Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, yesterday paid tribute to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi victims at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, where over 250,000 victims are laid to rest.
Speaking to the media after touring the different sections of the memorial, Ramaphosa commended the Government’s efforts and the people of Rwanda for having built the nation from scratch.
“I’m so impressed and moved by what I have seen particularly the development that has taken place in Rwanda and the hope that Rwandans have for their future.
“It’s sad that many people perished as a result of hatred and lack of understanding of what constitutes the process of building a country. I must say that, we congratulate the people of Rwanda for the journey that they have made to get beyond this,” he said.
Ramaphosa said Rwanda has done so much in bringing back peace, unity and reconciling the people, and also making sure that they preserve the memory of what happened 22 years ago when the country was plunged into darkness.
“Rwanda has done incredibly good in terms of peace building, and uniting the people. Having managed to reconcile people in different ways is a quite different phenomenonal achievement. We really wish the people of Rwanda well,” he added.
Ramaphosa was leading government and business delegation that arrived in the country last week in time for the World Economic Forum on Africa.
Although both countries have some similarities with South Africa having gone through the tragedy of Apartheid, which was caused by hatred, Ramaphosa said that healing the wounds of his country has not yet been achieved and adding that peace-building is a long process.
He also noted that as technology advances, social media and other technology tools should be used well to advance peace instead of using it as a tool to deny Genocide.
“Social media as a new technological medium of communication should be used to positively communicate the truth to people. Those in government must also put across positive messages about nation building,” he said.
“We cannot let the tales and deeds of the past take hold again. We must change the thinking of people, this is what we still suffer in South Africa; people still take hold to the past, others still believe in racism. This is the frontline that we must close up, and also work hard to influence our people positively,” he said.