Rwandans Tipped On Heroism in Fight Against Covid-19

25 January 2021

Rwandan have been urged to demonstrate heroic values and avoid to undermine the effort by frontline workers' in the ongoing battle against Covid-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world.

The call was made on Sunday on National Broadcast as Rwanda prepares to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the National Heroes Day on February 2, 2021 amid Covid-19 pandemic.

It will be held under the theme: "Heroism: Our dignity" as a way of instilling heroic values among citizens.

As a way of curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said, the Heroes' Day celebration, messages and talk shows about heroism will be virtually delivered.

Among the major events organised to mark the day include the Heroes' Day Concert organised to pay tribute to the country's heroes.

Celebrated at family level, parents and guardians have been urged to inculcate good and heroic values in children while committing to compliance with Covid-19 prevention measures.

Edouard Bamporiki, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth and Culture noted that there are different battles in which heroic and good values can be expressed including the battle against Covid-19.

"Heroic values can be expressed in our everyday lifestyle and struggles. There is heroism in war and heroic values in defeating poverty. The current battle is fighting against Covid-19 pandemic and good values will help to defeat it and help one another. Respect and compliance is a value that can save people from dangers," he said.

Lt. Col. Vincent Mugisha, from the ministry of defence added that a hero should express their deeds whenever there is anything that could destabilize the country and citizens' life in one way or another.

Lesson from Rwandan history

Lt. Col. Mugisha urged the youth to stick to Rwandan culture and embrace good values to build and protect a unified nation.

"Eroding our culture as Rwandans can lead to losing heroic values. This is traced through colonialism that disenfranchised Rwandan culture and heroic values that used to exist and divided society.

The unity was disintegrated which led to 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. That is why those who stopped the genocide and liberated the country are heroes we celebrate," he said.

He said that the youth should draw lessons from the fact that about 95 percent of RPA-Inkotanyi fighters who liberated the country were youth.

Deo Nkusi, the Executive Secretary of the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour (CHENO) said that Youth need to espouse heroic values as a strong foundation to help the nation achieve 2050 vision with unity.

"Common values that shape heroism are developed in our families, community and civic education programme-Itorero. This breeds patriotic youths with heroic values needed in everything to benefit Rwandan citizens," he said.

Who is a hero?

A hero is any person who pursues objectives he/she undertakes to obtain a special achievement for the public interest and with high proven integrity, sacrifice and noble courage in their acts and who avoids being a coward in their actions in very trying situations.

Rwandan heroes are classified into three categories: Imanzi, Imena, and Ingenzi.

Imanzi is the supreme hero who demonstrated outstanding achievements characterized by supreme sacrifice, outstanding importance and example.

A person cannot join the Imanzi category when they are still alive.

So far, heroes in the Imanzi category are two; Maj. Gen. Fred Gisa Rwigema, the first commander of the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) and the 'Unknown Soldier,' who represents all fighters who died during the liberation struggle.

A hero in the Imena category is one who is reputed for his/her extraordinary acts for the country which are characterized by supreme sacrifice, high importance, and example.

Presently, heroes in this category include King Mutara III Rudahigwa, Michel Rwagasana, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Félicité Niyitegeka, and Nyange (students) heroes.

Ingenzi is for good ideas or outstanding achievements characterized by supreme sacrifice, great importance and high example.

There are also orders and decorations of honors.

One is Uruti that is awarded to those who played a role in liberating the country.

Umurinzi is awarded to those who played role in fighting and stopping 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Agaciro is given to a leader with activities in developing the country in politics, economy, and welfare while Igihango is given to those with outstanding activities that paved Rwanda's cooperation with other countries.

The Indashyikirwa medal is awarded to those who managed to bring innovations that boost national development.

Indangamirwa is awarded to those who highly promoted Rwandan culture and Indengabaganizi is awarded to those who sacrificed themselves to save people without thinking of losing their lives.

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