Marc J. Gwamaka is one of the co-founders of Peace and Love Proclaimers (PLP) and he is initiator of ‘Walk to Remember’ and the Consumer Segment Officer in the Marketing Department of Rwandatel.
On February 9th, 1988, Gwamaka was born to Murego M. Jonathan and Murengo M. Josee while in Dodoma, Tanzania.
The 23-year- old Gwamaka finalised his Primary Leaving Exams at Kigali Parents School before completing his high school education at Lycee de Kigali, Rugunga.
“I pursed a Bachelors Degree in Information Technology at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) although I quit after a year. I opted for Business Administration since I wanted to major in Marketing,” Gwamaka said.
He added that he is pursing a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration (BBA) at Mount Kenya University.
As a child, Gwamaka’s dream was to become an Army General but this changed with time.
“I always wanted to do something other people have not done and I thought I would achieve it if I became an Army General. I think I had this kind of mentality because I went to Camp Kigali Primary School which was in an army barracks,” Gwamaka explained.
He later understood that one does not necessary need to be an army General or President to make a difference in other people’s lives.
“I know that I can make a change anywhere and influence the lives of people I live with, either in my country, region or the whole world,” said Gwamaka.
He narrates about how he came up with the idea of ‘Walk to Remember’ which is celebrated in several countries to commemorate the lives lost during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“It was one Wednesday after we had done something known as ‘Forgiveness, a step to Reconciliation’ in a PLP programme. I realized that we say ‘Never Again’ yet we have not done anything about it.
“It bothered me so much so I thought, why not do walks so that people could always ask why we walk and hence keep the memory of what happened,” Gwamaka disclosed.
Gwamaka said: “When we forget, we reap the fruit of forgetfulness hence repeat the same mistakes.”
“I sat down and started to write what we should do before naming the walk, ‘Walk to Remember’ and for me the walk is an education programme. We teach people what happened during the Genocide but the walk itself is the climax.”
The first ‘Walk to Remember was held on May 16th, 2009 and it was organized by PLP. It has since picked momentum and it has been embraced by over 10 countries in 20 different locations.
“Coming from a small idea it grew to becoming regional and now its international involving countries such as USA, India Canada and the United Kingdom, it shows that at least we have taken a step to what we want to achieve when we say Never Again,” Gwamaka explained.
According to Gwamaka, ‘Walk to Remember’ is divided into sections, the first being the ‘the power of image, whereby documentaries are shown to teach people what exactly happened and how they can prevent it from happening again.
The walking part symbolizes the time it took to prepare the 1994 Genocide and after the walk, we read one hundred names of people who died to represent the hundred days of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Each name represents 10,000 people that died each day during the Genocide. The one hundred names are then divided into three groups. The first one is ‘The young’ who were the hope of our Nation, then ‘the middle aged people’ these where the strength of our nation and ‘the old people’ who carried on the positive values from generation to generation.
“While reading the names, we light candles as a sign to say we are re-kindling the lost hope but also committing that it will not happen again.
We commit by educating more people that Genocide will never happen again. Reading the names makes it more personal,” Gwamaka explained.
According to Dadi Niwejye also a co-founder of Peace and Love Proclaimers (PLP) said that Gwamaka always has innovative ideas.
“I met Marc Gwamaka seven years ago; in 2007 he and other members, we started Peace and Love Proclaimers (PLP). Gwamaka thinks big and is always willing to help everyone who comes his way,” Niwejye said.
“It is quite hard to determine Gwamaka‘s weakness although his a little reserved when he is not sure about something,” Niwejye added.
Prossy Kalisa, Gwamaka’s work colleague at Rwandatel didn’t describe him any different from Dadi Niwejye.
“He is social and has a good sense of humor. In everything he does, God comes first and I admire the way he believes in whatever he is doing,” Kalisa said.
Besides his desire to bring change to people’s lives, Gwamaka has passion for music but, he says he enjoys drumming more than singing.
Dish: Rice and mashed avocado
Music: Slow jam
Artist: R. Kelly
Sport: Rugby and Soccer
Sports personality: Zinedine Yazid Zidane
Soccer Team: APR (Locally) and Arsenal (international)
Car: Range Rover
Quote: “When you don’t want to do something don’t take the first step and if you don’t want to take the second step then don’t take the first one.”