KWIBUKA 22 AT ULK GISENYI
Rwanda felt a heavy blow when more than one million people were brutally killed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
However, the wounds the country sustained are currently healing and there is hope that the future is brighter considering the strides being registered on a daily basis. Rwandans have so far made it a culture to annually remember those who perished in the genocide so that they may prevent any other pogroms from taking place in this land of a thousand hills.
It is in the same perspective that Kigali Independent University ULK made it a must to always remember those who lost their lives and this is done year in, year out. This can be witnessed by a walk to remember organized by ULK Gisenyi Campus on May 29th, 2016. The walk in question kick-started from the campus premises to Gisenyi Memorial Site, notoriously known as “Commune Rouge”, or simply ‘Red District’.
It was a procession made of ULK Gisenyi staff and students, army and police representatives, local administrators, secondary school students and some other people who had come to join hands with ULK on such a meaningful occasion.
As soon as the procession reached the memorial site, a word of prayer got said by Dr. Munyamasoko Cyeze Emmanuel, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics and thereafter Chantal, a student who survived genocide in Gisenyi narrated the ordeal she passed through when killings broke out. “I was 6 when genocide started. I saw with my own eyes Interahamwe militias ruthlessly killing my father and mother and they spared me saying I will grow to become their wife”, she sorrowfully narrated.
The testimony was followed by the exercise of laying wreaths on the tombs of hundreds of victims killed in the former Rubavu Commune. Shortly after this, it was the right time to go back to the campus for the rest of the event.
Speaking at the function Dr. Munyamasoko Cyeze Emmanuel said the culture of remembering goes back to Israelites after they had crossed the Red Sea from Egypt. “Shortly after Israelites had crossed the Red Sea, God commanded Moses to use stones from their pathway to erect a tall tower which will make them remember their difficult journey and brutality suffered while in Egypt, he said.
“We should therefore follow in the footsteps of Israelites by remembering our tragic past if we are to make our determined spirit of a genocide free country materialize”, he added.
In the middle of the function, students, survivors of the Genocide doing their Bachelor’s program at ULK Gisenyi Campus gave away five goats to widows for bettering their lives. The gesture was received considerable appreciations from those at the event.
The guest of honor, Mr Kalisa Roger, Corporate Manager in Rubavu District who was representing the Mayor of the district in the function, lauded Kigali Independent University for having put genocide commemoration on its annual calendar. “ULK is doing what we usually request many other institutions to do. It’s a good example worthy emulating and this is a sign that the future is promising”, he was quoted saying.
To mark the end of the function, Mr. Karara Alexis, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, was given the microphone for the closing prayer.