It’s been 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda happened and yet the memories are still fresh in the memories of many. It was a time of confusion, betrayal, a time of people who once lived in harmony as brothers and sisters, turned against each other in senseless killings that lasted 100 days and saw entire families wiped out and whole communities disappearing off the face of the earth. Those who survived had to endure many hardships physically and emotionally as they tried to rebuild their lives. 20 years later, Rwanda is a different country, peace and harmony has returned the spirit of oneness, and the country is moving forward.
To commemorate the Genocide, the United Nations in Zambia embarked on an educational outreach tour in Kitwe at the Copperbelt University (CBU), Dag Hammarskjöld Institution for Peace Studies (DHIPS) and Ndola National Technical High School for Girls from 7-9 April, under the theme “Kwibuka 20-Remember, Unite-Renew”. The participation at the outreach programs was very lively and the response to the topic under discussion generated a lot of debate with a few controversial points of view especially on the failure of the international community in responding to what was happening in Rwanda.
During the tour, there was a video screening of a short documentary called “Kwibuka 20”, whose purpose was to highlight the theme for 2014 and show the audience what steps the people of Rwanda have taken towards Remembering, uniting and renewing as a country.
A presentation by UNIC Lusaka focused on the lessons learnt from the Genocide and the success stories that Rwanda has achieved post 1994. Other activities included a question and answer session and the screening of the video “Kwibuka 20”, which set the stage for the discussion. Other activities included the sending of a bulk Short Message Service (SMS) to 4000 mobile numbers with links to various resources that people could refer to regarding the Rwanda Genocide.