KIGALI - A funeral service for a Rwandan journalist, Théogène Karabayinga, was held yesterday at Centre Christus in Remera who.
Karabayinga, who worked for Radio France International (RFI), died last Sunday and was laid to rest yesterday at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in France.
Abel Mugabo, one of the relatives, said that it was a big loss to the family.
“It was so sad to lose Theo. I actually came to know him after I got married. He was the only surviving relative my wife. All his family was killed during the Genocide,” Mugabo told The New Times at the funeral service.
“He was the last born in their family. He was a good man, very intelligent, and on top of that, he loved Rwanda very much. He fought for this country during the liberation war. Rwanda has lost an icon.”
Eliphaz Bahizi, a cousin of the deceased said: “It is difficult to talk about him during such times. Even though he was a brother, he was also my very good friend.”
“As children, we grew up together until he fled to Burundi and I to Congo. I recently travelled to France and we met. He was well. We were even expecting him to visit us in July. His death took us all by surprise,” said Bahizi.
The deceased was loved by many, including members of the, for which he was a Secretary.
Shortly after his untimely death, Alain Gauthier, the president of Paris-based rights group – Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), was the first to alert The New Times, saying: “Our friend and brother Théogène Karabayinga passed away on Sunday.”
“Theo was secretary of the CPCR and we will miss him very much. We remain faithful to his memory,” Gauthier said.
Born in Rwanda in 1953, Karabayinga is survived by a daughter.
He started his radio career while in Burundi as a refugee. He later went to France as an intern and because he could not return to Bujumbura due to the political strife, in 1980, he continued and practiced in France.