RWAMAGANA — Grief and sorrow engulfed Rwamagana town on Monday as renowned young cyclist Godfrey Gahemba was laid to rest in a ceremony attended by thousands of mourners.
The burial at Rwamagana cemetery was preceded by a requiem mass at Rwamagana Cathedral - attended by the Minister of Culture and Sports, Joseph Habineza, Provincial and Rwamagana district officials, Rwanda Cycling Federation leaders, youth who participate in cycling race, relatives and friends.
Described in the eulogy as Rwanda’s rising star, 17-year-old Gahemba was struck and tragically killed by a vehicle on Sunday December 14 during a cycling race in Rwamagana.
He represented Rwanda at this year’s Junior World Championships in Cape Town, South Africa, finishing in 162nd position after fellow Citizen Innocent Sibomana dropped out of the race.
And he also finished third in this year’s the Tour of Rwanda competition (1072 Kms) and emerged first in the junior rider category.
Gahemba is much remembered by his relatives for bringing up his siblings who were orphaned at a tender age. At his age, he was also looking after his grandmother who is handicapped.
“The only word with which I can use to describe Gahemba is that he was a person who liked being happy, you could not tell that he was an orphan. He loved his family, relatives and everyone,” said his maternal uncle on behalf of the family.
The uncle noted that Gahemba’s family will not remain the same without the deceased as he has been the care taker. But we have trust in God, he said.
Aimable Bayingana, the President of the Rwanda Cycling Federation said they had identified the talent in the deceased as a young upcoming star.
Bayingana, disclosed that the federation had organised some assistance to give to Gahemba’s family in recognition of his efforts.
Valens Ntezirembo, the Rwamagana Mayor described Gahemba’s death as a loss not only to the district, but province and the nation. He said the late was so supportive to the youth who could contribute immensely to future cycling tournaments.
The Mayor asked the youth to emulate Gahemba, and love their country by contributing to its development. “You have to be heroes like him, work hard to promote your talents and help others to advance,” he said.