KIGALI CHRONICLES: “I am Rwandese”

The story of Rwanda’s genocide of 1994 is well known. I was 13 when it all happened but I vividly recall the scenes from Kigali and the countryside. As they remember the heart wrenching events of 20 years ago under the theme “Kwibuka20 – remember, unite and renew”, Rwandans have moved away from identifying themselves by their tribes. 

The Hutu, Tutsi way they used to know themselves as has been replaced by “I am Rwandese”.

Whiles in my beloved Ghana, political parties and their communicators have made it a point to create and to drum home how their opponents are supposedly a party of this tribe and that tribe. In our quest to win electoral votes we care less how we achieve that. We forget about the bigger unit called Ghana. It’s a shame, really. I don’t know why it is so difficult for us to focus on ideas and thinking that will advance the cause of Ghana but instead put all our energies in things that divide us and slow down our development.

Now back to Rwanda.

It is impossible to forget about a genocide like what Rwandans witnessed and experienced. What makes Rwanda an admirable situation is the way they have identified what separated them and made them hate each other so much in the past and how they have built their country almost from scratch to a level where a drive through Kigali feels like a drive through any European city.

“I am Rwandese” is what the younger generation have been told and that is what they live by. “I have visited the museum several times and I cry anytime I go there. People were killed just like that”, an 18 year old student I engaged in a conversation told me. It is a general feel across people I have interacted with.

I so much wish the average Ghanaian could visit here for just a day and take in all the many positives that abound here and are missing in Ghana.

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