Following the death of Rwanda’s last King, Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, Sunday, in the United States of America, the Rwandan Academy of Language and Culture (RALC) has expressed its condolences to the former monarch’s family and offered any help required.
The 80-year-old succumbed to illness in the state of Virginia.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Dr James Vuningoma, the Executive Secretary of RALC, said it was sad that Kigeli had died in self-imposed exile, adding that they were ready to help his family in any way possible to say final goodbye to the former King.
But none of the deceased’s relatives had approached Government for help regarding funeral arrangements, he said.
“It is within our cultural values to support each other, especially in such tragic moments. There are people who knew him personally and those who lived with him, it is, for sure, a sad moment for all,” said Vuningoma.
“We are still following developments but, as of now, no request from any family member to assist in funeral arrangements has been made; we are ready to offer our support should they decide to lay him to rest in Rwanda”.
Kigeli took over from his brother Mutara III Rudahigwa in 1959 but he was shortly after driven into exile along with thousands of other Rwandans in colonialist-inspired attacks before his reign was officially brought to an end in 1961 with the help of Belgian colonialists.
Following the country’s liberation and repatriation of refugees, the post-Genocide Government encouraged Kigeli to return home in dignity offering to accord him a wide range of privileges, a request he was yet to assent to by the time of his passing.
Born Jean-Baptiste Ndahindurwa, King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa was born in 1936 in the current Rusizi District.
He was the son of King Yuhi V Musinga, who was banished into exile by Belgian colonialists in 1931 and replaced with his son, Rudahigwa.
Kigeli had never stepped foot in Rwanda since the time he fled the country more than half a century ago.
Before seeking exile in the US, he lived in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
He did not marry and is believed not to have left any child behind.