Rwanda Genocide Memorials
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Rwanda Genocide Memorials
During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many as 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority. Started by Hutu nationalists in the capital of Kigali, the genocide spread throughout the country with shocking speed and brutality, as ordinary citizens were incited by local officials and the Hutu Power government to take up arms against their neighbors. By the time the Tutsi-led Rwandese Patriotic Front gained control of the country through a military offensive in early July, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were dead and 2 million refugees (mainly Hutus) fled Rwanda, exacerbating what had already become a full-blown humanitarian crisis.
Kigali Genocide Memorial
The people of Rwanda embrace peace and reconciliation. They are committed to fighting the ideology of genocide. The memorials found throughout the country are moving testimonies in memory of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the people who lost their lives.
Inaugurated on the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, the Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi is where 250,000 victims have been buried. This memorial also serves to educate about how the Genocide against the Tutsi took shape and examines genocide in the 20th century.
Nyanza Genocide Memorial
Located in Kicukiro, a suburb southeast of the city center towards the airport, there is little to see at this memorial other than the tiled tops of four mass graves believed to contain the remains of the 4000 Tutsis who took refuge in the Ecole Technique Officially (ETO) grounds and numerous unmarked wooden crosses.
Ntarama Genocide Memorial
The Church of Ntarama was converted into a genocide memorial on 14th April 1995 and is dedicated to the 5,000 people who lost their lives there. One of Rwanda’s six National Genocide Memorial Sites, Ntarama contains human remains, clothing, and artifacts belonging to those who were killed at the church, which remains on display at all times.
Nyamata Genocide Memorial
One of Rwanda’s six National Genocide Memorial Sites, the Nyamata Genocide Memorial was desacralized by the Roman Catholic Church on 11th April 1997 and transformed into a memorial to the victims of the genocide. One person is buried inside the church, which also houses victims’ clothes and their belongings. Mass graves are situated behind the church, containing 45,308 genocide victims. The 11th of April every year is dedicated to the commemoration of the victims killed at this site. According to Leon Muberuka, a guide at Nyamata, the number of victims includes those who were killed inside the church, as well as others who were exhumed from surrounding areas. The memorial is located in what was originally the Nyamata Parish.
Murambi Genocide Memorial
The Murambi Genocide Memorial was created on 21st April 1995. During the genocide, the Tutsis of this region sought sanctuary at Murambi, where a technical school was being constructed. Today Murambi serves as one of six National Genocide Memorial Sites and contains the remains of approximately 50,000 victims killed at the technical school, including some remains exhumed from the surrounding area. Only 34 people from this site are believed to have survived the genocide. The 21st of April every year is dedicated to the commemoration of the victims of Murambi.
Tips to visiting Rwanda genocide Museums
While visiting Rwandan genocide memorials guided tours are highly recommended as it’s the best way to get a full understanding of the genocide in Rwanda.
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