Strathmore University honours victims of the genocide against the tutsi


On Thursday 4th May, Strathmore University  in collaboration with our Rwandese students and the Rwanda High Commission to Kenya, hosted a special event to mark the 29th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The event was a reminder of a dark past, one which everyone is called to learn from in order to ensure it never happens again. In his address, the High Commissioner,  Rwanda High Commission to Kenya, Dr. Richard Masozera  said, “Occasions like this help us to remember our history and pick lessons that ensure it never happens again as well as pay tribute to those who lost their lives because of who they were, purely because of their ethnicity.”

Dr. Vincent Ogutu, the Vice Chancellor, Strathmore University, in his message during the #Kwibuka29 commemoration event said, “To be faithful to history, we must use the right term to refer to the atrocious acts; the genocide against the Tutsis.”

Furthermore, the event was a reminder that despite our differences, we are all human beings with a shared history. It is only by coming together and acknowledging the past that we can move forward and build a better future for all. This event was an important step in this process, and one that will hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Below is an excerpt from the Assistant Chair of the SU Rwanda Community, Don Gisa’s speech.

“The role of the youth during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi is a crucial topic that highlights the need for reflection, learning, and action. It is a topic that can help us understand how young people can make a significant difference in their communities and how their actions can shape the course of history.

So, as we commemorate the genocide against the Tutsi for the 29th time, it is essential to acknowledge the role of the youth in the atrocities that took place.

The genocide against the Tutsi was a dark period in Rwanda’s history, and the youth played a critical role in the planning and execution of the genocide. The military and militia groups like the Interahamwe and Impuzamigambi were composed mostly of the youth. During this period, the country’s young people were exploited and manipulated by politicians to carry out destruction and further their malicious and unjust agendas.

Such exploitation came in the form of propaganda and lies that were spread through different communication channels ranging from large scale sources like newspapers and radio stations to a domestic scale where hatred was nurtured among the youth. Seeking to incite hostility, it continuously increased and eventually  got out of control , which led the Rwandan youth to actively get involved in the massacres and the many other atrocities committed during the 1994 genocide.

It is also important that we also acknowledge the role of the youth in the aftermath of the genocide.

The youth also played a crucial role in rebuilding Rwanda and promoting unity and reconciliation. As we know, the Rwandan patriotic front, then led by his excellency President Paul Kagame consisted mostly of the youth who  responded to the first call and stepped in to fight against the genocidal government and stop the genocide that was being carried out in the country. In the immediate aftermath, many youths took up the responsibility to help our country get back on its feet. Their contributions included; leadership and economic efforts, assistance in the rehabilitation of survivors, and taking care of their families who had endured so much loss.

To this day, they have been at the forefront of promoting social cohesion, fostering dialogue, and advocating for justice.

The Former Minister of Defense of Rwanda, General James Kabarebe said and I quote, “You’ve deserted the battlefield. We don’t see you in the fight against genocide denial. You have the tools, the means and the content to challenge the enemy, so why don’t we see you at the frontlines?It is high time you stop being distracted. The struggle to stop the genocide has ended, but the struggle against genocide denial should continue.”

Today, as we look back at the events of 1994, we must learn from the past and work towards a better future. The youth of today must take a stand against hate speech, discrimination, and intolerance. They must promote peace, respect, and inclusion and work towards building a better world for all.

As we remember the victims of the genocide against the Tutsi, let us also remember the lessons learned and the actions taken by the youth. Let us honor their resilience, their courage, and their commitment to promoting peace, reconciliation, and social justice.

In conclusion, the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi was a tragedy that should have never occurred. As we move forward, let us continue to learn from the past, promote dialogue and reconciliation, and labor towards building a better country and world for future generations.”


This article was written by Rachael Wangui, a third year Communications student.

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