Remembering the lives of Rwandan heroes

The Rwandan heroes are classified into three categories which include ‘Imanzi’, ‘Imena’ and ‘Ingenzi’.  The ‘Imanzi’ category consists of the late Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema and the Unknown Soldier who represents all the soldiers that died during the liberation struggle.The ‘Imena’ category consists of King: Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre, Michael Rwagasana, Agatha Uwiringiyimana, Niyitegeka Felesita, and the students of Nyange Secondary School. the third category which is ‘Ingenzi’ consists of all  heroes who are still alive.
L-R : Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema ; King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre
L-R : Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema ; King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre

The Rwandan heroes are classified into three categories which include ‘Imanzi’, ‘Imena’ and ‘Ingenzi’.  The ‘Imanzi’ category consists of the late Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema and the Unknown Soldier who represents all the soldiers that died during the liberation struggle.
The ‘Imena’ category consists of King: Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre, Michael Rwagasana, Agatha Uwiringiyimana, Niyitegeka Felesita, and the students of Nyange Secondary School.
the third category which is ‘Ingenzi’ consists of all  heroes who are still alive.

Fred Gisa Rwigema (‘Imanzi’)

Born on April 10th, 1957 in Mukiranze village, Kamonyi District (former Gitarama) of the Southern Province. he died on October 2nd, 1990 on the third day of the RPF offensive into Rwanda. He was buried in Kagitumba before being moved to the heroes cemetery. He was the founding member and leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

His parents were Anastasi Kimonyo and Gatarina Mukandilima. Rwigema and his family fled to Uganda and settled in Nshungerezi refugee camp in the 1960’s following the 1959 revolution.

On June 20, 1987, he married Jeannette Urujeni and was blessed with two children, Gisa Junior and Gisa Teta.
After finishing high school in 1976, he went to Tanzania and joined the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), a rebel group headed by Yoweri Museveni. Later that year, he travelled to Mozambique and joined the FRELIMO rebels who were fighting for the liberation of Mozambique from Portugal's colonial power.

In 1979, he joined the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), which together with Tanzanian armed forces captured Kampala in April 1979 and sent Idi Amin to exile.
He later joined Museveni's National Resistance Army (NRA), which fought a guerilla war against the government of Milton Obote.

After the NRA captured state power in 1986, Rwigyema became the Deputy Minister of Defence. He was regularly at the front line in northern Uganda during the government's offensives against remnants of the ousted regime. He attained several positions in the Ugandan army such as; Deputy Army Commander and Overall Operations Commander.

Despite  holding all the above posts, he always had Rwanda at heart. on October 1, 1990, he spearheaded Rwanda’s liberation struggle.

King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre (‘Imena’)

King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre was born in 1911. He was the son of King Yuhi IV Musinga and Nyiramavugo Kankazi Redegonde. He became the King on November 16, 1931 after his father was over thrown on November 13, 1931.

During his rule, King Mutara III Rudahigwa greatly advocated for the welfare of Rwandans and independence.
He married Nyiramakomali on October 15, 1933 and they separated in 1940. He re-married Rosalie Gicanda on January 18th 1942. There were no children in both marriages. Rosalie Gicanda was murdered on April 22, 1994 during the 1994Genocide against the Tutsi.

King Mutara III died under mysterious circumstances on July 25, 1959 in what many consider to have been an assassination.

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