Regina Pacis Catholic Church was yesterday filled to the brim as family and friends came to bid farewell to singer Henry Hirwa. Later, he was laid to rest at his home town in Gisororo.
The funeral service that started slightly later than midday was interrupted by a slight downpour but nonetheless Hirwa received many mourners from all walks of life to pay tribute to him, including a number of artists. Hirwa, who was part of the group Kigali Boys (KGB), drowned on Friday in Lake Muhazi.
Leading the mass at the church was the Bishop of Kicukiro, Eric Nzabamwita, who in his brief speech encouraged the family and friends to stay strong for each other and know that Hirwa has gone to a much better place. He added that God has prepared a place for each one of us and that all of us have our own time and so this was Henry's time.
Hirwa was known by his family and friends as a very friendly person who genuinely loved people.
"Much as he was fun to be with, he was very motivated and focused, because as a group he would be the one bringing all the beautiful ideas to the table" said Gaston Rurangwa, a member of the KGB group and one of the best friends.
Rurangwa revealed how they had known each other for ten years, sharing their dreams. "We went to the same schools, I shared dinner with his family on several occasions, which made our bond even stronger, and we are surely going to miss him."
At the funeral service, the family members and close friends were clad in white T-shirts with his picture embedded on it and words that read "Rasta never dies, we will never forget you." According to the sister of the deceased, Miss Rwanda Aurore Umutesi, 'Rasta never dies' was a phrase he liked to use.
Protais Mitali, the Minister of Sports and Culture was among the high officials that honored the musician, and he encouraged the family and friends to stay strong, saying that this earth is not our home and all of us have their own time when they would depart.
"Henry was young man who was very motivated and hardworking and those who did not know, he was patriotic fellow. He really showed love in whatever he did and did not give up at any one point to strive for it."
Hirwa was born in Bujumbura , Burundi in 1985 to Ladislas Kayibanda and Olive Mukazera. He was the only boy among three sisters. He did his primary education in Burundi and moved back to Rwanda where he completed his secondary education at Agape before joining Kigali Institute of Management.
Before joining the group KGB, he was dancer with Cool Friends Crew. KGB are known for tracks like Abakobwa b'iKigali, Ruhurura and Bibi.
Band member Rurangwa announced they will shortly release a song called Hirwa as a tribute to their friend.