Employees of Akagera Business Group and Toyota Rwanda Commemorate the Victims of the Genocide Against the Tutsi

On 26 April 2024 at 05:37

Leaders and employees of Akagera Business Group and Toyota Rwanda commemorated the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi, including former employees of the company ’La Rwandaise’, by paying tribute to the innocent lives buried at the Ntarama Genocide Memorial in Bugesera District.

The event began with a visit to the memorial on April 25, 2024, followed by discussions at the offices of Akagera Business Group and Toyota Rwanda in Karuruma, Jali Sector, Gasabo District. The discussions focused on the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Faustin Mafeza, a researcher at the Ministry of Unity of Rwandans and Civic Engagement (Minubumwe), spoke about how the genocide against the Tutsi was not unexpected, as there had been a history of hate speech that dehumanized the Tutsi. He highlighted some of the ideologues of the genocide, including Joseph Gitera Habyarimana.

He said, "This Joseph Gitera Habyarimana spread the ideology of hatred against the Tutsi through the 18 Hutu commandments, which he concocted and announced during his party’s meetings in Butare on the date I mentioned, September 27, 1959."

Nicole Mudenge, who survived the genocide and is the child of a former employee of ’La Rwandaise’ commemorated today, reinforced that the Tutsi had been subjected to brutal acts even before the 1994 genocide. Mudenge, who was 10 years old during the genocide, shared how teachers did not hesitate to humiliate Tutsi children in front of their peers who were yet to understand ethnic divisions.

"I was in elementary school, I remember a teacher named Noëlle, who was my neighbor but also taught me at school. I don’t remember what lesson we were on, but I remember she called me out to the front of the class alone, not knowing why she had called me."

"She put me in front of the students, I was wearing a blue dress the kind of uniform students wore back then, which had a belt. She tightened the belt around my stomach until it hurt, then told all the other students to look at me, saying, ‘this is what Tutsi children look like’."

Solange Mukanizeyimana, the secretary of IBUKA in Gasabo District, who attended the event, noted that those who were not present during the planning and execution of the Genocide against the Tutsi might perceive it as distant history or an exaggerated story, possibly doubting its occurrence. However, the survivors are witnesses to its reality because they lived through those events.

Senthil Ganesh Shanbagamoorthy, the Managing Director of Akagera Business Group, emphasized that considering the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the world has a duty to teach young people to grow up with love and respect for fellow human being, avoid discrimination in all forms, and to ensure that such atrocities do not occur anywhere, again. He lauded and was extremely proud of the immeasurable efforts that the nation have put in to reconcile such a painful past, to make the glorious Rwanda that it stands today! Hats off.