The commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwandan schools, Part 1

This is part one of a five-part series on how the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is commemorated in schools across Rwanda. You can read the full article at this link.

2 minute read

The genocide against the Tutsi, which took place in Rwanda in 1994, took the lives of more than a million, tore the Rwandan social fabric in pieces, destroyed a large part of the infrastructure and left deep wounds in the hearts of many Rwandans. Following the genocide, the government of Rwanda committed to never allowing such an atrocity to happen again. As a result, Rwanda observes Kwibuka (meaning “remember), a genocide memorial week during April 7-13th, and a 100-day period of reflection from April 7th to July 7th, symbolizing the length of the genocide, for both Rwanda and the global community to commemorate the sad events of 1994. The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide has also been put in place with a mission “to prevent and fight against genocide, its ideology and overcoming its consequences”.

During these memorial periods, activities related to genocide commemoration take place across the country and in Rwandan diplomatic missions abroad. These activities have a specific focus on young people, because it is by their hands that Rwanda can propel itself into a space which preserves the memory of generations before and after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Therefore, it is crucial that young people understand why the genocide took place in Rwanda, its consequences and their role in ensuring that it never happens again. It is because of this that the Rwandan primary and secondary school curriculum integrates peace and values education and genocide studies as crosscutting issues across all subjects because, 

Rwandan children should know about the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi alongside the Holocaust and other genocides. They should know what caused the genocide in Rwanda, its planning and execution, how it was stopped and what the consequences have been. Rwandan children should take part in fighting genocide ideology and genocide denial.

In this context, genocide commemoration activities are also held in schools every year. This five-part series will elaborate on the way the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi is commemorated in schools in Rwanda and how children and teenagers are helped to know more about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, especially because most school students were born after 1994, and ultimately to overcome the legacy of genocide.

This is part one of a five-part series on how the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is commemorated in schools across Rwanda. Follow along with us to read parts two through five in the weeks to come, or click here to read the full article.