KIGALI - As the country celebrates Heroes Day, today, Rwandans have been urged to emulate past heroes by becoming more patriotic and focus on issues that build the dignity and integrity of the Rwandan people and their country.
There won’t be any military and police parades, but Rwandans will gather in their villages to celebrate the day, the Minister of Sports and Culture, Joseph Habineza, said yesterday.
“We regard this day highly. It is a day of dedication when all Rwandans are required to take time and think about what our heroes achieved and how they can be emulated and at the same time, focus on our dignity,”
“It is a time when all of us discuss ways of giving dignity, not only the people, but also to our country,” Habineza said, adding that the actions and legacy of the heroes should provide lessons to Rwandans.
The heroes remembered today include Maj. Gen. Fred Gisa Rwigema remembered for being a patriotic and charismatic leader who sacrificed his life to liberate Rwanda, as well as the Unknown Soldier who represents all soldiers who died during the struggle.
King Charles Leon-Pierre Mutara III Rudahigwa, is also remembered for being patriotic, expanding and protecting the kingdom’s territorial integrity and its people.
Reflecting on the life of King Rudahigwa, Habineza said that the late King served as an exemplary individual who strived for the dignity and integrity of the Rwandan people and even gave his life in the struggle.
“He was not selfish. He was patriotic and strived for the dignity of his people and his country. His life should be a lesson to all Rwandans today. They should not be selfish and they should always put the interests of their nation ahead of everything,” Habineza said.
Other heroes include Felicite Niyitegeka and Michel Rwagasana remembered for promoting national interests, and Agatha Uwilingiyimana, the former Prime Minister who strongly opposed the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
She was brutally murdered by the militias despite being guarded by UN Forces.
In reference to the students of Inyange Secondary School who are remembered for resisting ethnic divisionism and championed human rights and were killed for their views, Habineza said, the young students should be an example for the youth of today.
“Inyange Students are an example of the young people we want today. They should be a lesson to the youth. United we Stand, divided we perish, that should be the stand for our young people today,” Habineza said.
This years heroes day will be celebrated under the theme, “let’s strive for Heroism as we focus on the dignity of Rwanda.”
President Paul Kagame is expected to make a speech at midday that will be aired by national radio and television.