Kigali - — Yesterday marked the beginning of the 100 days of remembrance as Rwandans and friends of Rwanda across the world commemorate the genocide against the Tutsi. This year's theme is "Striving for self-reliance."
The Commemoration activities began at Gisozi Memorial, where more than 250,000 people are buried in mass graves. H.E. President Paul Kagame and the First Lady laid a wreath in memory of the victims.
In addition, Rwanda's Prime Minister, President of the Senate, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Chief Justice, other members of Government, representatives of the military, police and local government, a representative of the Diplomatic Corps, members of the Presidential Advisory Council, Executive Secretary of CNLG and Ibuka President as well as representatives of the families of survivors also laid wreaths to honor the victims.
After this, President Kagame lit the flame of hope that will burn for 100 days. The flame speaks to hope despite the tragedy that saw over a million Rwandans killed. Around noon, a minute of silence was marked all across Rwanda after which, President Kagame delivered a message of hope to Rwandans who were in their villages participating in commemoration activities.
Around 5 p.m. in Kigali, President Kagame joined young Rwandans, members of government, friends of Rwanda gathered at Parliament for "Walk to Remember". The walk, which went from Parliament to Stade Amahoro, was organised by young Rwandans to both remember victims and speak up against genocide and crimes against humanity. Similar walks were prepared in different parts of the country as well as different parts of the world.
At Stade, the vigil commenced with President Kagame lighting a candle of hope; his candle went on to light many others in the form of a flame. The candle lighting spread across stade until small flames were seen everywhere. Following this, young people read out of the names of 100 victims representing all the victims of the genocide against the Tutsi. They also read 19 messages, speaking to the fact that the genocide can never be forgotten and the future full of possibilities for Rwandans as they rebuild.
The vigil closed with message from Dr. Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, Ibuka President, who spoke to the resilience of survivors and thanked President Kagame for his continued support of survivors. The message was followed by songs from Kizito Mihigo, Army Band, choirs and many other artists.
The week of mourning ends on April 13, but the commemoration period will continue for 100 days until Liberation Day, July 4, 2013.