The New Times (Kigali)

4 December 2012

Rwanda: Funeral for R and B Star Set for Tomorrow

Photo: New Times
The late Henry Hirwa, middle, with his bandmates.

Hundreds of mourners are expected to attend the burial on Wednesday of Henry Hirwa, a musician from KGB (Kigali Boys) who drowned in Lake Muhazi on Saturday.

Hirwa, 27, drowned around noon while swimming in Lake Muhazi with friends who had gone for a party.

According to relatives, Hirwa's body will be taken to Regina Pacis Church, Kimironko tomorrow at 11.00 am for a requiem mass before the burial at 1.00 pm at Rusororo cemetery.

Several mourners have since Sunday flocked Hirwa's family to commiserate with them.

Telesphore Uwanyirigira, said to have been the closest friend to late Hirwa, said burial arrangements were in final stages but they were still waiting for one of Hirwa's sister living in Belgium.

Miss Rwanda Aurore Mutesi, another sister to Hirwa is probably the most affected by this death, because, according Uwanyirigira, she has refused to go out of her room since the tragedy occurred.

An eye witness said on the fateful day 18 friends, including Hirwa who was in a jovial mood departed from Kigali aboard a taxi they had hired and went to Lake Muhazi, for a party marking the beginning of the last month of the year.

They expected to enjoy food, drinks and picture moments and had contributed Rwf10000 each.

On arrival, five friends who include Delphine, Linda, Gatera Yves and Hirwa dived into the Lake swimming in different directions, while the rest of the team was procuring drinks at a lake side motel located at Musha.

A few minutes later, Uwanyirigira, one of the colleagues realised Hirwa was missing and asked the friends who were still swimming to check if they were together.

None was able to locate him and they started searching.

In less than twenty minutes, they saw him floating at around ten meters from the shore.

"The body had no injuries to suggest an attack by a reptile or that he knocked a rock. All we learnt from the boatmen of the place is that the water at that side is deep.

Unfortunately, our friend was not used to swimming," said Uwanyirigira.

Meanwhile, the Police spokesman, Superintendent Theos Badege is advising people to be cautious as the festive season draws.

"People should take precaution; hotel owners have to have life jackets and make it a condition to any customer to put it on whether he/she knows swimming or not," he said.

"While swimming, people should go in groups and most importantly should know that water is good but dangerous as well.".

Badege asked beach owners to have people around to guide customers.

By press time, Badege said results of the autopsy were not yet released.

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