Genocide Memorial Centers
The Rwandan genocide memorial centers are spread all over the country with some more prominent than others commemorating the Rwandan genocide in 1994. It is believed that over 800,000 people were killed in a space of 100 days starting in April 1994. The centers have exhibits of remains, photographs, and personal belongings like clothing, shoes, and others of the genocide victims.
The genocide centers act as a reminder of the evil act of genocide and an appeal that it should never be repeated in Rwanda or anywhere in the world. It is also a place of solace, mourning, and link for survivors with their dead relatives and friends. People come over at different times throughout the year but more especially during the national mourning time in April of every year.
Major memorials centers in Rwanda
The names of those who were killed in the genocide are written on the wall, there is the children’s section, the gardens with the children, the burial site which is covered over with concrete. Inside there are letters and pictures of victims. If you are visiting the memorial you get a guide to walk you through it, the guide is usually a genocide survivor with his own story to tell. It is a very moving and meaningful experience.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Gisenyi genocide Memorial Site” heading_tag=”h2″]The Gisenyi Memorial Site was one of the very first memorial sites to be built in Rwanda. It was built by the IBIKA survivor organization together with the Rwandan ministry of sports and culture. Gisenyi memorial is found on the outskirts of Gisenyi which borders the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. At first sight it appears to be a cemetery; however this memorial site contains the remains of 12,000 genocide victims that were killed during the 1994 Genocide.
Nearby is where one of the infamous Nterahamwe Roadblock was located. Between April and May of 1994, the area near the cemetery was called “Commune Rouge”. There was a roadblock called “Corniche ”which is where the Tutsi’s were identified by their national identity cards and appearance and taken near the cemetery and from the Nyando Community to be killed with crude machetes.
[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Murambi Genocide Memorial” heading_tag=”h2″]Murambi genocide memorial set on the grounds of former Murambi technical school near Murambi town and is by far the most difficult memorial to visit because of the bodies and skeletons of genocide victims on display. One can almost recognize and identify a survivor if indeed they were a relative or friend. Tutsi were advised to hide in the technical school with pretext that French soldiers would protect them but alas, it was a trap. After gathering there, they had no food and were attacked by the militia. The site has several mass graves with former classrooms acting as exhibition rooms.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Nyamata Genocide Memorial” heading_tag=”h2″]Nyamata genocide memorial center is a former church located 30 km south of Kigali in Bugesera. The center commemorates the 25,000 Rwanda genocide victims buried here. This is one of the more dark sites in Rwanda after Murambi genocide memorial.
It is unfortunate that many Tutsi people gathered here considering it a safe sanctuary because previously churches were seen as safe places. Little did they know that this building was a pure death trap as opposed to life. The Tutsi’s had locked themselves up in the church seeking safety but were shocked when Hutu militias forced open the doors open with hand grenades and reigned on them with machetes. You will find clothes and national ID cards of the dead victims on the church pews with blood spread all over the place. The alter cloth is still stained with blood from the massacre of the several victims. Outside the church are mass graves for your visits.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Nyanza Genocide Memorial” heading_tag=”h2″]Nyanza genocide memorial located on the grounds of Kigali’s Ecole Technique Officielle in Kicukiro district – Kigali city . This often acts as the grounds for the genocide anniversary commemorations which happen yearly in April. It holds the graves of more than 10,000 genocide victims abandoned by the Belgian UN peacekeeping forces as the genocide intensified. The UN forces left these Tutsi’s in the hands of their massacres by not airlifting them to the safety they themselves were going, a sad story of bureaucracy.[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline]