Are you capable of being a national hero? Possibly. With integrity, patriotism, sacrifice, humanity, proven courage, among other qualities, anyone can be a hero.
However, the Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, says that not anyone can be added to the list of the national heroes.
Addressing journalists at her office in Kigali, yesterday, Uwacu said that the government is working hard to instill the roots of good deeds as part of the country’s culture.
She pointed out that government’s mission is not to continuously add people to the list of heroes but to add those with heroic values demonstrated in outstanding actions.
“We need to understand that commendable deeds cannot be recognised on the level of heroes only. Let it be clear that not everyone who has done something great will necessarily be a hero or added on to the heroes’ list but they will be recognised. It is a culture whose roots we want to strengthen, from the young to the old to the private sector to government because recognising good deeds sets a good example to others,” she said.
This year, celebrations to mark Heroes Day on February 1 will take place at the village level to encourage more citizen participation.
It will be marked under the theme: Let’s maintain the path of heroism to build the Rwanda we want.
Uwacu said that, as the government starts its 7-year term, this was an opportunity to look further ahead and encourage the youth to build on what has already been achieved.
“As we move forward to 2030, let’s strive to be heroes within our communities but, most importantly, let us train and encourage our children to live responsible lives so that they can build on what we have already put in place. No one will come from elsewhere to take care of our country. It is our core responsibility as Rwandans,” she said.
The Chairperson of the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honor (CHENO), Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, appealed to Rwandans to embrace the message and meaning of the day.
“From how our country has rebuilt itself, how it has been defended, how it has liberated itself and where it stands today can all be attributed to advancing our culture of heroism. Let us embrace the meaning of this day,” he said.
Outlining the programme, Habumuremyi said that there would be a consultative meeting on the culture of heroism today at Lemigo Hotel in Kigali.
On January 27, there will be a special message that will be delivered on Umuganda regarding heroism, he said.
On January 28, there will be a talk-show that will be broadcast on all local radio stations regarding the same subject.
On January 31, there will be a concert to celebrate heroes though districts are free to pick a day of their choice.
“We have decentralised the celebrations. We initially used to do this at the national level, but this year, the celebrations will be taken to the grassroots,” he said.
There is also an ongoing Ubutwari tournament which will end on January 31 at the Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo where the final game will be played.
Basketball, volleyball, sitting volleyball and handball competitions have also been organised.
Col. James Ruzibiza, who represented the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF), pointed out that though the army is involved in the celebrations, the duty to protect people and their property and to carry out humanitarian works continue.
“We continue to protect the country’s sovereignty so that Rwandans can continue to enjoy peace. We are consistently working with the rest of society to continue to work towards the development of our country. This is evident in different activities like constructing school blocks which we continue to do, working with others to build homes for the vulnerable,” he said.
On Heroes Day, the President is expected to lay a wreath at the Heroes’ Mausoleum in Remera, Kigali.