Following the 1994 genocide that gripped the country at large, the government decided to set up genocide memorial centres in various areas of the country to remember the lives of those that perished in this reckless and inhuman holocaust. These genocide centres were also to remind the countrymen and women plus the international community of the need to make peace and co-exist as human beings without undue hatred and enmity based of ethnicities. Below are the various genocide memorial centres in Rwanda:-
Kigali Memorial Centre/Gisozi Genocide Memorial Site
The genocide memorial site is located in Kigali in Gasabo district is found approximately 35 kilometers away from Kigali City centre. Kigali Memorial Centre was inaugurated in April 2004, on the 10th Anniversary of the 1994 genocide that torn Rwanda apart and claimed close to a million lives. The Centre provided a chance for which the bereaved could lay to rest their families and friends. Over 250,000 victims of the genocide are now buried at the site, a clear aide memoire of the price of lack of knowledge.
This centre is a lasting monument to the genocide victims and also as a place for Rwandans to feel sad for those they lost.
The Centre has 3 permanent exhibitions, the biggest of which, documents the genocide in 1994. There is also a children’s memorial, and an display on the history of genocidal aggression around the globe. The Education Centre, Memorial Gardens and National Documentation Centre of the Genocide all add to a momentous accolade to those who perished, and form a dominant edifying tool for the generations to come.
Kigali City Council began to build up the shell of a building in 2000, which was in the end developed into the Memorial Centre. Auspices were invited to turn the ambition for a centre into actuality.
The Aegis Trust then commenced on collecting data from corner to corner of the planet to create the three graphical exhibits. The text for all three exhibitions was printed in 3 languages, designed in the UK at the Aegis head office by their design team, and shipped to Rwanda to be set up. The centre is global and deals with a subject of international significance, with a comprehensive connotation, and is designed to engage and challenge an international visitor base.
The reaction from genocide survivors to the creation of the Centre was astonishing. In the first week, more than 1,500 survivors visited every day and around 60,000 people from a variety of backgrounds visited it in the first three months of the Centre’s opening out of whom approximately 7,000 of these visitors were from the International Community.
Murambi Memorial Centre
The memorial site is located in the Nyamagabe District with in Southern Province of the country. Found in an old technical school, the memorial site is only 30 minutes drive from the National Museum of Rwanda in Butare. Here, a school where 27,000 people were slain. A severe, shocking memorial, hundreds of corpses are momentarily preserved and presently demonstrated in the school.
The memorial has been developed as an enduring exposition to the genocide. It documents from pre-colonial times to the more modern history of the 1994 genocide. The drawing focuses on developing a commemorative plaque from which the school children and local community can gain. With the construction of the centre at Murambi in its final stages of completion, it is at present intended that its official opening will take place later this year.
Nyamata Memorial Site
The Genocide Memorial is found about 35 kilometers in the south of Kigali city in Bugasera region. This site is a church where approximately 2,500 people were killed and it has become symbolic of the barbaric behavior of women during the genocide. In the church at Nyamata, there will be graphic and audio-visual displays that will focus predominantly on the mass rape, brutalization of women and the use of HIV as a planned genocide weapon.
Ntarama Memorial Site
This Genocide Memorial site is found about 30 kilometers away from the capital of Kigali in the south. Ntarama is a town in the countryside Kigali Province, situated in an area known as Bugesera. About an hour’s drive southwards from Kigali, the red-brick church at Ntarama is calmly situated, shadowed by acacia trees. Ntarama Church, nevertheless, is the site where some of the most atrocious carnages of the 1994 Rwandan genocide took place. The church at Ntarama was seen as a secure place by almost 5000 people, many of whom were women and children and who went there for refuge. However Ntarama was not a safe place. The victims of the genocide remain there, their bones still scattered with insensible chaos where they fell almost 19 years ago. Their belongings cover the floor; clothes, suitcases, a child’s white sock – the last remnants of a distressed escape for life.
Bisesero Memorial Site
Bisesero is placed in the hills of the Western Kibuye province where some 30,000 people were butchered. The region around Bisesero became known for the acts of resistance from Tutsis who tried to arrange themselves against the mass murders. This was generally unproductive as they were fighting with sticks against well-armed and trained soldiers. The memorial site consists of 9 small buildings which symbolize the nine communes that formerly made up the province of Kibuye. Now the site where the memorial was built is called the “Hill of Resistance” because of the people’s resistance against their murderers.
Nyanza Memorial Site
At the beginning of the genocide in April 1994, over 2,000 Tutsis took refuge in the École Technique Officielle (ETO) was a Salesian secondary school in Kigali, Rwanda. On April 11, 1994 ETO school on the outskirts of Kigali, protected by the United Nations Peace Keeping force.
Following the pulling out of the UN, refugees were made to march up the road to Nyanza where they were all assassinated. At present, this site, marked by simple wooden crosses, is representational of the neglect of Rwanda by the International Community. Each year on April 11th, a memorial ceremony takes place on the site where the deserted refugees were murdered in cold blood.
Nyarubuye Memorial Site
The site is found 35 kilometers away from the towns of Kibungo and Kirehe districts. This is a convent and school where 20,000 people were killed. These people were trying to flee over to the Tanzanian border. In 2003, the school became practical again; the convent, however, remains empty, apart from the bones of the victims, and will be turned into a memorial and education centre.
Rebero Genocide Memorial Site
The genocide memorial site is situated in Kicukiro District on the peak of mount Rebero. The murderers used to toss victims of the genocide from different parts of the country here. Hence, it’s believed that nearly 14,400 people are buried here.