25 years ago, a tragedy beyond explanation occurred, it seemed more like a horror story. Institutions of government, the media, church, and thousands of citizens were used in the attempt to eradicate an ethnic group of Rwanda’s population.
This was the Rwanda Genocide where 800, 000 people sadly lost their lives in the period of 100 days.
During this period of remembrance that has been happening from 7th of April 2019, people light candles and hold a moment of silence to honour the victims.
This year, a flame was lit that will burn for the same a hundred days mirroring the genocide’s length.
A turn-around was made in 2003; voters backed up a draft constitution that banned the incitement of ethnic hatred and it is now illegal to talk about ethnicity in Rwanda as it is still a hugely sensitive issue. The previous provinces of Rwanda were also replaced by a smaller number of regions in 2005 to create an administrative area that is ethnically-diverse.
Rwanda has been seen to possess really good qualities and is setting an example in the way that; over 90% of Rwandans have access to medical insurance and the great healthcare system has taken a part in the increment of the country’s life expectancy by 10 years, it was the first country to put a ban on plastic bags, there is a national community service day and Kigali is one of the cleanest countries in Africa and not forgetting it has the world’s highest representation of women in parliament (64%) (Africabusiness2020.com)
The country can be referred to as the phoenix that rises from the ashes and is seen to be making huge strides in its development by balancing healing, peace, security and justice.
Although citizens say that the theme in Rwanda is, “the past is always present”, there is hope in that people are learning to live together again. The people of Rwanda are creating a new stronger national identity that they are proud of and they do that with a program called ‘Umuganda’ which means “coming together for a common purpose.”
As Africa, we could learn from Rwanda’s lessons of forgiveness and reconciliation. Rwanda has taught us how we can rise beyond our trials, no matter how harrowing they may be. The past tells us a story of one’s strength and Rwanda has shown to jet fuel launching into one of the most stable, safest and least corrupt countries on the African continent.
It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost and tragedies take place, but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.