Rwandans are today marking Heroes’ Day with celebrations taking place at the village level.
Over the last one week, a campaign to advocate for the altruistic values that has shaped the history of the country was carried out nationwide.
According to Deo Nkusi, the Executive Secretary of the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour (Cheno), the Day is also time to reflect and prioritise the befitting choices for a brighter future of the nation
“Heroism was inscribed in Rwandans’ daily life, we are bound to learn from it, cherish it and pass it on to our children,” Nkusi told The New Times yesterday, adding that the future generations play an integral role in continuity of the heroic values.
This year’s celebrations will be held under the theme; “Heroism is making Choices that Fit Us”
Nkusi shed more light on the theme saying that Rwanda’s quest for befitting decisions and choices had gained momentum and that the spirit is more lively than ever.
“We are talking of suitable choices, choices we deem relevant, choices that befit us minding the journey we have traversed, they are choices of good endeavours as opposed to bad ones,” he added.
Nkusi added that government has been working on different projects, including the introduction of annual heroes’ football tournament and inclusion of more heroes and decorations for outstanding individuals.
Previously, officials announced that 35 out of 200 people whose profiles have been under scrutiny for order and decorations were yet to be officially approved pending cabinet consideration.
In addition to celebrations at the village level, activities for the day include paying tribute to national heroes by the country’s top leadership at the national mausoleum in Remera, Kigali as well as football games.
The public podcaster, Rwanda Television, is scheduled to broadcast live coverage of some of the day’s activities.
They include a football game between two military teams and another, a mouth-watering clash between bitter rivals Rayon Sports and APR football clubs.
Rwanda’s heroes are classified into three categories comprising of Imanzi, Imena and Ingenzi.
The Imanzi category, the highest order, features people who made utmost achievements at the expense of everything else, including their own lives.
They include Maj Gen Fred Rwigema, who died on the frontline the day after the launch of the Liberation War and the ‘Unknown Soldier’ who represents all soldiers who lost their lives fighting for Rwanda.
The Imena category comprises of people whose track record has proven their deeds as extraordinary acts for the country and that they were marked by utmost sacrifice.
They include King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre, Michel Rwagasana (special adviser to late King Rudahigwa); Agathe Uwilingiyimana (former prime minister); Félicité Niyitegeka, a Catholic nun who was working at a parish in Rubavu; and Nyange Secondary School students.
The last category, Ingenzi, is comprised of heroes who are still alive, but the list of these is yet to be published.