On Wednesday 14th February 2018 students and staff at the University of Rwanda-Gikondo Campus joined the People of Rwanda to celebrate the 24th National Heroes day which is normally cerebrated on 1st February. This year, the theme was “Uphold Heroism to Build the Rwanda we Want”.
During his remarks, Lt Col. William Fred RYARASA, told the students that The Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPA) had no choice but to take up arms to liberate the nation and reminds them that Heroes’ Day is especially important for Rwandan youth because they still have time to do great things and recommit to the very values that characterized those that sacrificed their lives for their country and common good.
“The youth still have a long time to live and they should strive to build their country by successfully accomplishing their duties in an exemplary way. They should always look to do great things for the community and country so that future generations will look at what they did and get inspired to do the same,” he said.
Rwanda’s heroes are in three categories: Imanzi, Imena, and Ingenzi.
The Imanzi category, the highest order, features people who registered utmost achievements at the expense of everything, including their own lives. They include Maj Gen Fred Gisa Rwigema, who died at the frontline the day after the launch of the country’s armed liberation struggle in October 1990, and the ‘Unknown Soldier’, who represents all the men and women in uniform who lost their lives during the campaign to liberate the country.
The Imena category comprises of people whose track record includes extraordinary acts for the country and were characterised by utmost sacrifice. This category includes King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre, Michel Rwagasana (special adviser to late King Rudahigwa), and Agathe Uwiringiyimana, the female prime minister who was slain by genocidal government forces within just hours of the start of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Others in this category include Félicité Niyitegeka, a Catholic nun who offered shelter to fleeing Tutsi during Genocide only to be killed by the Interahamwe militia alongside the people who she had hid in her house at a parish in Rubavu District; and the Nyange Secondary School students, whose school was attacked by the remnants of the genocidal forces and Interahamwe militia on March 18, 1997 – six of the students were killed on that fateful night.
The Ingenzi category is comprised of living heroes but their list is yet to be published.
By Marie Claire ISINGIZWE
Minister of Information, Students’ Guild Council at Gikondo Campus