Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Rwanda marks 20th anniversary of genocide

07 January 2014, 21:04

Kigali - Rwanda on Tuesday began commemorations marking 20 years since its genocide, with a flame of remembrance due to make a nationwide tour ahead of the anniversary of the horrific events of 1994.

The flame was to be lit at the main genocide memorial in Kigali by Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, before embarking on a tour of towns and villages in the central African nation, ahead of a period of official mourning that begins on 7 April, officials said.

"The flame will be carried by young people," Freddy Mutanguha, country director for Aegis Trust, one of the organisations helping to prepare the lighting ceremony, told AFP.

The flame will for three months be carried from place to place by vehicle and then paraded on foot through each town or village, he added.

An estimated 800,000 people, essentially from the Tutsi minority, perished in the genocide, carried out by Hutu extremist militias and troops in the three months from April to June 1994.

Most of the masterminds of the genocide have been tried at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda set up in Arusha, Tanzania, with the backing of the United Nations.

A further two million ordinary Rwandans were tried in grassroots courts known as "gacaca" for their alleged role in the killings, with some 65 percent of the accused found guilty.

A further aim of the gacaca courts was to get local communities to overcome years of silence and to discuss what had actually happened in their villages during the mass slaughter.

Beginning this month, memorial activities will start at both the grassroots and national levels, leading up to 7 April when the national mourning period will begin, on the date the slaughter began two decades ago.

Important milestone

The week starting 7 April is already a period of mourning each year. National television shows footage of the genocide, Rwandans wear purple, which is the colour of mourning, and survivors wash and re-bury bones that had been consigned to shallow graves.

Candlelight vigils are held and films about the 100 days of killing are shown.

Activities for the 20th anniversary will include discussions on Rwanda's national identity and on the progress the country has made since the genocide, which destroyed its social and economic fabric.

According to the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG), the 20th commemoration will feature countrywide events aimed at cementing memories of the genocide, fostering reconciliation and reflecting on the progress made afterwards.

"Twenty years after the genocide is an important milestone," Jean de Dieu Mucyo, the executive secretary of the CNLG told a press briefing earlier this week. "There is a lot that will be done to reflect on the past 20 years."

Planned events include a conference in early April attended by leading academics on the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide and the renovation of genocide memorials dotted across the country.

Rwanda has taken huge strides forward since the end of the genocide, which was stopped by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), then a rebel movement and now the ruling party. Its leadership has been championed for its economic reform agenda and clampdown on corruption.

The regimes's detractors, however, accuse the RPF of President Paul Kagame of clamping down on dissent and committing numerous human rights abuses.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...