My Rwanda Diary, Day 5... Tears at the Genocide Memorial

After suffering a couple of postponements, the inevitable dawned upon us. Virtually every Nigerian Journalist that came to cover the 2016 CHAN had the intention of visiting the Kigali Genocide memorial.

So it was no surprise when 50 percent of the journalists lodged at the Shan Grilla Motel decided to go there with the others electing to do something else.

It is difficult to find someone who will completely claim ignorance of the 1994 massacre; an unfortunate event that claimed close to 2 million lives. The scale and global attention given to the genocide was massive.


BRIEF HISTORY OF MEMORIAL

The Aegis Trust, the UK-based genocide prevention organization, was invited to establish the Kigali Genocide Memorial in partnership with the Kigali City Council and the Rwandan National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG). It was opened in April 2004, the tenth anniversary of the start of Rwanda’s genocide.

The Memorial commemorates the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

A day after Nigeria was held by Tunisia in a Group C battle in Kigali, it was time for the home-based Eagles to shake off. That light training at Mumena stadium coincided with our planned visit to the Memorial.

Now, it was a case of “choose yeah this day whom yeah shall serve” for those interested in attending the Eagles training and visiting the Genocide park. Without a shadow of doubt, I chose the latter.

We had spent the most part of the morning playing around and discussing some trivial issues bordering on sports and humanity and at about 12 noon, we set out for the long-awaited tour.

After about 20minutes on a motorbike; a trip that cost RWF1200 (less than $2), we arrived the historical museum where 259,000 victims of the Genocide were laid to rest in mass graves in 1994. In the convoy were Ufuoma Egbamuno, Kelechi Nkoro, Emmanuel, Rotimi Akindele and Toyosi Oyetunji; who joined us later.

After the formalities of undergoing security checks at the entrance, we eventually walked into the famous memorial. Goose bumps appeared all over me immediately a young lady at the reception started giving us guidelines on our visit to the memorial.


The mention of “259,000 people were buried here” by the lady got me emotional and speechless. My mood and that of the other members of the crew apparently changed.

Moments later, we watched a 10-minute documentary on the reactions of the relatives of the Genocide victims.

Interestingly, a visitor or tourist to the Memorial gets free access and is also allowed to take pictures outside the centre. But to take photograph(s) of what’s inside the memorial, you have to pay $15 while listening to the recorded audio analysis of the genocide will cost RWF 15,000 ($20).

The Memorial is basically divided into three sections:
The genocide
Other countries’ genocide
The affected children

With the aid of the audio device, one can get a recorded analysis of the genocide.

Going through one section to the other and looking at what transpired in Rwanda between the Tutsis and the Hutus, I was shocked to say the least. Audiovisual representations of the deadly events, arms, weapons, human skulls, bones, machetes, cloths of victims etc were all on display at the Memorial; a sight that saw many almost crying.

The memorial attracts over an average of 700 visitors a day, including tourists from other countries. One of such visitors is Kayla- a Chinese-American on a month’s vacation in Rwanda.


After touring the beautiful Memorial, it was time to have lunch at Eden Restaurant near Amahoro stadium.

As usual, rice dominated the menu alongside chips, beans and soft drinks. Considering our dislike for beef, the perceived manager of the restaurant even promised to prepare fish for us today.

While at the memorial, Toyosi Oyetunji of the NFF, had informed us that today (24 January) is his birthday and that we should all gather at K-Club (arguably Kigali’s finest club) at night to usher him into his birthday.

On arrival at the club, we were asked to pay RWF 30,000 before entering; a condition that did not go down well with the celebrant and others. We were walking out when the assistant manager unconditionally asked us to come.

It will be tantamount to stepping on toes if I narrate what happened inside the club. The long and short is that we had fun at K-Club before we left!
















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2 comments:

  1. Anytime the Rwandan Genocide comes up in any discussion, I get emotional too. Movies like 'Hotel Rwanda' & 'Sometimes in April' did justice to what transpired. I hope Nigerians can learn lessons from others this time. We can't be the example always!

    *Ghanaman signing out*

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  2. I also wanna point out how the Rwandans have made tourism outta this. We could do same with the civil war stuff as well!

    *Ghanaman signing out*

    ReplyDelete