Award winning Kenyan music group Saulti Sol have commended the work of the Kigali Genocide Memorial during a visit while in Rwanda for the KigaliUp Festival. As part of their visit to the memorial, Sauti Sol band members paid their respects to the more than 259,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi buried there. They observed a minute’s silence and laid a wreath on the mass graves.
The musicians also visit the exhibitions at the memorial where they learnt about the preparations and execution of the Genocide, in which more than one million Rwandans were killed. As part of their tour, they were also told about the post-genocide and peace-building activities Rwandans are undertaking to rebuild their lives.
Speaking about his visit to the memorial, Willis Austin Chimano (vocalist, keytar and saxophone player) said:
“This is so new to us and completely different to what we knew or heard before coming here. How can one kill a child? It is so inhuman.”
The Sauti Sol band members were briefed about the memorial’s education and outreach work, such as the Rwanda Peace Education Program and the ongoing Walk for Peace taking place in Kenya. The Walk for Peace is a campaign run by Aegis Trust – a genocide and mass atrocities prevention organisation that manages the Kigali Genocide Memorial on behalf of the Government of Rwanda.
Walk for Peace is inspiring young people from divided communities to break the cycle of violence in Kenya’s North Rift Valley. The campaign uses peace education methodologies inspired by the work of the Kigali Genocide Memorial and the Rwanda Peace Education Program.
During Sauti Sol’s performance at the KigaliUp Festival, the band donated US $1,000 to the memorial. While announcing the donation, Bien-Aime Baraza (vocalist, songwriter and guitarist) spoke about the crucial work of the memorial: “The Kigali Genocide Memorial needs to be visited by everyone. It is building peace in Rwanda and we are making this contribution to help continue this important work across the continent.”