During one of their visits to the Gisenyi genocide memorial site, young people from showbiz and the media industry vowed to use the arts and social media to eradicate genocide denial and ideology.
Their visit which took place last Friday was part of the ongoing 28th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The group, which was made up of artists, journalists, promoters, bouncers, Deejays, YouTubers and designers, stressed the importance of visiting places of memory, especially when it comes to good understand the tragedy that occurred in 1994.
Holly Gift Niyitegeka, an up-and-coming artist, said visiting the memorial site gave her a real perspective of what really happened during the genocide.
“It was my first time there; everything was different and new to me. I learned a lot as they explained what happened in 1994. I saw it in my eyes; we can unite in this fight and ensure that genocide never happens again.”
For Jean Marie Vianney Imanizabayo, alias J Fary, one of the biggest lessons of the visit was the idea of unity and its importance for a peaceful society.
“I learned that we are one people; we must know that we are all Rwandans. That’s what everyone should know,” he said.
He also said visiting the site helped him understand the history of what happened and how the genocide was organized.
“They explained and helped us to visit the site; we saw the remains of the victims and paid our respects. We used to pass by and see the genocide memorial but this time we saw everything from the front, it was not there is no one who will tell us lies,” he added.
Need more memorial tours
Salomo Uwishema, a journalist and one of the organizers, encouraged more people to visit the memorial sites.
He also said that as young people they understood the role that “show business” played in the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
“It is important that we visit these sites in order to understand the tragic history that Rwanda has gone through. Social media and other platforms are used to spread genocide ideology, that is why we decided to come here and understand clearly how we should behave and fight Holocaust deniers,” he added.
Jeannette Uwanejeza, director of the Rubavu District Good Governance Unit, urged the group to share the correct story of what happened in 1994.
“It is important that we see young people come for the commemoration as they share information through media and social networks that respond to genocide deniers who misrepresent our story.”
Uwanejeza stressed that it is good for young people to get involved in such activities for the coming generations as well as for the betterment of Rwanda.
“We urge young people to continue to be involved in such important activities. It is good to see young people also involved in the reconciliation and development of our country.”
“When we see young people like you, we see a better future ahead of us as we grow older. You have to be exemplary for others, that’s all we expect from you,” said Gérard Mbarushimana, CEO Ibuka in Rubavu district.
The group has also set up health insurance for more than 100 genocide survivors whose families were killed in the “Commune Rouge” region, Fredy Ruterana, one of the organizers, told The News Times.