Rwanda’s National Basketball under 18 team joined by other players from Uganda, Angola, Algeria and Tunisia yesterday paid their respects to the more than 259,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi buried at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
The teams are participating in the 2016 FIBA Africa U18 Championships being held in Kigali.
Matthew Ochieng, the Captain of Ugandan Basketball team, says he found the experience educational and moving.
“When you are here you grasp the depth and impact of the Genocide. I have seen the pictures, read the history of Genocide, and heard painful testimonies in the memorial’s exhibitions.”
he said. With a sombre expression on his face, Ochieng adds that the memorial stands as a strong evidence to counter claims by genocide deniers.
The Rwanda national team coach emphasized the importance and the need to educate and share the history of Rwanda with the 2016 FIBA Africa competition participants who are largely of the post-Genocide generation.
“Our objective was to share our history with other countries. In this regard, we brought them to the memorial so that they could witness first-hand what happened in Rwanda. As for our Rwandan team, this visit meant to inspire them to play an active role in national reconstruction.”
said Moise Mutokambali, the coach of Rwanda National Basketball-Under 18 Team.
After the tour of the memorial, players left determined to evaluate their contribution towards making never again a reality as evidence by Matthew Ochiendu who stated that,
“this is our time [youth] to do whatever possible in order to prevent what happened from happening again anywhere in the world.”
Echoing the same sentiments, Jesse Ntihemuka Nkusi, of the Rwanda National Basketball Team concludes by encouraging Rwandans to work together to fast track the development of the country.