Survivors draw strength from consolation

KARONGI – Unlike last year when over 20 mourners drowned in Lake Kivu, the week dedicated to the remembrance of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi kicked off with peaceful march in most parts of the western province.
Mourners during the quiet march in Karongi District. (photo S Nkurunziza)
Mourners during the quiet march in Karongi District. (photo S Nkurunziza)

KARONGI – Unlike last year when over 20 mourners drowned in Lake Kivu, the week dedicated to the remembrance of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi kicked off with peaceful march in most parts of the western province.

Hundreds of bereaved residents turned up to share testimonies and reconciliation stories and experiences 17 years after the horrible events of 1994.

With placards and banners bearing different messages condemning the Genocide, mourners quietly marched the streets in memory of the over one million people who were killed in less than 100days.

“Every time the mourning period sets in, I remember one Sunday morning when I woke up only to find all my family members murdered,” Theo Nsabimana, a survivor recalled.
He explained that he derives strength due to encouraging messages and comforting words he always receives from the public most especially fellow survivors.

Meanwhile in Rutsiro district, memories are still fresh of mourners who perished in a boat accident on Lake Kivu, while heading for commemoration exactly one year ago.
Christine Kanakuze is the wife to the late Alex Niyibizi, the former assistant director of education who also perished in the accident. She reckons that her life has never been the same again.

“After the death of my husband, it became increasingly clear that life had become an uphill task and this has not changed even as we witness this year’s commemoration,” Kanakuze said.

She however explained that a lot has been done to help her recover from the trauma even though the 1994 events still remains permanently imprinted in her memory.

Out of the 70 people who were aboard the ill-fated boat heading to Nyamunini to join other mourners in memory of the victims who were killed and dumped into the lake in 1994, 50 miraculously survived.

Local leaders confirmed that a special arrangement is underway to pay tribute to victims of the tragedy while helping their families.

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