Rwandans will today mark National Heroes Day for the 24th time. While there is criteria for one to be officially recognised as a hero, there are also values that one must adhere to.
Charles Kabwete Mulinda, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Rwanda, explains that though each country has its own understanding of heroism there are similarities amongst them.
“Every country or crowd has its own heroes. However, heroism is part of culture, how people live with each other, and in the history of that crowd or country. Each country or crowd has its own,” he said.
He breaks down the values of a hero as follows:
Must help others
This is the first value of a hero. He or she does things that change other people’s lives for the long term and will forever be remembered for such deeds by their beneficiaries.
Must be humble
There are many people who have done great things but they have not necessarily been considered as heroes. This must be one of the values of a hero.
Must be selfless
A hero is someone who does great things and puts others before self without expecting accolades or any other benefit. Sometimes you find that some people have left notes behind indicating that they wanted to be heroes. That title can only be given to you by people who commend the goodness of your deeds whether they have passed on or are still alive. This means that they can have sleepless nights over other people’s interests.
Heroism is not only about helping others and generosity, it’s also about self-sacrifice. This is unfortunate, but this particular heroism most times requires one to sacrifice their life for what they believe in. It is human nature to love life and to be selfish, but for anyone to put their lives on the line for the sake of others is exceptional. Christians see it from an example set by Jesus Christ. The recognition may be immediate or so many decades later, but what is important is that it happens.