Rwanda Genocide Memorial History
In 1994, Rwanda experienced a bloody moment (Rwanda genocide) which was characterized by mass killing of hundreds and thousands of natives. The civil war between the Tutsi and Hutu left Rwanda’s population very low due to massive loss of lives on either side.There are about eight Genocide Memorial sites in Rwanda as a result of the 1994 war and these places were put in place to actually commemorate this dangerous Genocide war. Close to one million people died and it is believed that this war happened for about 100 days.
Rwanda genocide took place in the context of the Rwandan Civil War, a conflict beginning in 1990 between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The latter was made up largely of Tutsi refugees whose families had fled to Uganda after the 1959 Hutu revolt against colonial rule.
Rwanda Genocide Memorial Sites to Visit
Murambi Genocide Memorial site
It’s estimated that close to 2,700 people were slaughtered from this school during the Rwanda genocide period. Ever since the war took place, people left the place to go settle somewhere else. Many corpses are still preserved and nobody is allowed to distract their peace. With the fast growing tourism industry in the country, the school has been renovated and used as an exhibition. Tourists that visit the Murambi Rwanda genocide area get free information about the history of Rwanda. Apart from corpes being exhibited, there are well preserved burial rooms where many were put for tourists to have a clear view. The people that will take you around the site are the war survivors; their story is touching with so much sadness. With the so many graves that were scattered, a single burial place was formed to give the victims a decent burial.
Gisozi Genocide Memorial Site
Gisozi Genocide Memorial site is located in the Gasabo District, in the city of Kigali. It is where the victims of Tutsi Genocide are buried from the year 2000. It contains a cemetery, a house of exhibition on Genocide section; a library and it has a plan of teaching the history of genocide. There are approximately 300,000 victims buried there. For a real, heart-in-your-throat experience, it is important to visit two other genocide memorials, sites which actually became slaughterhouses in April 1994. Nyamata and Ntarama are about 25 kilometers from Kigali and only about 1 km apart from each other.
This Gisozi Memorial site features a display house, a library, a cemetery and a photo gallery. The site is intending to provide additional history about the country to the whole world.
Nyamata Genocide Memorial Site
This memorial site is located in Bugesera district. Before the genocide, this was a church however during the war approximately 2500 people had gone to take refuge in this church where they were killed. It is approximately 35kms from Kigali city. However, according to the testimonies given by survivors, on April 10th 1994 about 10,000 people were killed in and around the area of the Catholic Church. People from all around congregated in the church and locked the iron door with a padlock to protect themselves from the murderers. This church and its contents are a reminder of the horrifying violence that took place at this site during the 1994 genocide.
In memory of the people who lost their lives in Nyamata Church and its surrounding area, the Rwandese government, in collaboration with the Genocide survivors from the Nyamata area, decided to preserve the church as a memorial to the Genocide Against the Tutsi. Services are no longer held here. Today, this site is visited by tourists, students, survivors and activists who want to learn about the Genocide and those who wish to honor the victims and the survivors of this horrible atrocity
Nyanza Genocide Memorial Site
Nyanza had a school called ETO, it was governed by the UN.They had come to offer security to the people of Rwanda prior to the genocide. When the war started, they went back to their country and all the people that had come to seek refuge were killed because there was no help from UN.Majority of the people were Tutsis and the few Hutus were taken away from school to be assassinated. A memorial ritual always takes place on April 11th to remember the people that were killed in cold blood.
Most of the people were actually Tutsis and just a couple of Hutus. Every year on 11th April, a memorial ritual is conducted to commemorate the victims of this cold blood murder.
Bisesero Genocide Memorial Site
The site is located in Karongi district on the lower slopes of Kibuye region in western Rwanda. It is supposed that approximately 30,000 people were killed in this region. They were presented by the French soldiers because of their braveness and the opposition they displayed. This was the place of the Tutsis as they organized to stand up against the Massacre. Due to their weak weapons, most of them were murdered by the Hutus.
The Bisesero Memorial site is comprised of nine small structures which symbolize the Nine communities which initially formed the kibuye region. Today the site is referred to as Hill of Resistance because of the brave resistance exhibited by the Bisesero people against their opponents.
Ntarama Genocide Memorial Site
This genocide site is positioned approximately 30km off from Kigali town in Bugesera. It’s 1 hours drive from Kigali city. About 5000 people were killed in the church during the war. People had come to seek refuge as they thought that it was the only safe place to hide. A bigger number of people killed were children and women. Ever since that time, the church has not been cleared and now it’s an exhibition to tourists.
The Ntarama church was converted into a genocide memorial on the 14th April 1995 and was dedicated to over 5000 people who lost their lives in this place. Ntarama which is one of the six national Genocide memorial sites contains human clothing’s, remains and artefacts which belong to those who were killed at the church, these items have remained at display all times.