Young Rwandans remember their history at the Our Past event at Kigali Genocide Memorial

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More than one thousand young people joined Rwanda’s Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye, for the fifth ‘Our Past’ event at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The young Rwandans came together to remember the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi and learn about their country’s history.

Our Past is an annual event that first took place in 2012. It is organised by young people, for young people, and takes place during the Kwibuka commemoration period. It brings together Rwandans from different parts of the country and their friends from abroad. The purpose is to teach about Rwanda’s bad history that led to the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. The event also aims encourage young people to be part of rebuilding their country and sow peace in their minds for the unity and reconciliation of all Rwandans.

This year’s Our Past was supported by a range of partners including the Aegis Trust, the Kigali Genocide Memorial and the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide. It was organised by Sick City, a youth run entertainment company that promotes music and modern dance in Rwanda.

The Our Past show included talented young Rwandans who shared messages of peace, hope, history and renewal through poems, songs and drama. The performances emphasises that young Rwandans still have much to do to rebuild Rwanda which was all but destroyed in the Genocide against the Tutsi 1994. The event was especially notable because it was attended by Rwandans who were born after the Genocide.

“Though we were not born yet during Genocide, this is our time to remember and get to know what happened in the Genocide, fight against its ideology and make our Rwanda a peaceful country,” said Jonathan, one of the attendees.

As part of the event, guests lit candles to remember the victims, show support to survivors and as a sign of hope for the future.

The poems presented encouraged young people to share the message of building a united country by reminding them that they have to learn about Rwandan history in order to educate others.

“We have seen that ignorant is an evil of opportunities. Once is too many times already.” Poet Carlene Ella said, emphasising on the duty Rwandan youth have to prevent genocide from happening again, in Rwanda or elsewhere.

Through theatre, the audience were reminded about how the Genocide started, what happened in 1994, and the impacts Rwanda is still facing 22 years laters, including the plight of survivors, orphans, widows and traumatised people.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial was proud to host the Our Past events and encourages all groups of young people who would like to remember to visit the memorial and pay their respects to the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Photos of Our Past by Iganze Photography

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