The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Genocide Commemoration Week Taken to Village Level

The forthcoming 19th commemoration of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi will be marked at village level, officials announced yesterday.

The change, that was approved by the Wednesday Cabinet meeting, affects mostly the first day of the commemoration week scheduled for April 7 - 13. This is so that more people are involved in the commemoration.

"Consider, for example, the 25,000 people that fill the Amahoro National Stadium. They are very few compared to the number of people in Kigali City, yet we want every Rwandan to participate in this commemoration," said the Minister of Culture and Sports, Protais Mitali, during the post cabinet meeting news briefing yesterday.

The commemoration will remain at village level, but after every five years, national commemorations will be held alongside the village commemorations.

During the entire week of mourning this year, Rwandans will work in the morning and attend meetings at every village level in the afternoon, with an informed speaker from their respective villages.

These meetings are aimed at educating Rwandans on how the Genocide was carried out and to strengthen the notion of "Never again", among other themes.

Uniting colour

According to Minister Mitali, the ministry carried out a survey and realised there was no common colour worn by mourners during the Genocide.

"We also found that our ancestors had adopted grey as mourning colour. So we are encouraging people to adopt this one as well. We have seen purple dominating our mourning period, but it didn't come from our culture and it was not conventional as such," he said.

Meanwhile, the cabinet meeting approved a draft law stipulating the mission, structure and administration of higher learning institutions.

Education Minister Vincent Biruta told journalists that the draft law includes, among others, important components like the integration of Rwanda's education system in the East African Community system. He said a technical committee is now working on required preparations, which include the likelihood to study three years instead of four to obtain a bachelors degree.

The bill suggests also, that every higher learning institution should have its own chancellor, instead of the minister of education serving as the overall chancellor.

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