Young people take Centre stage at Kwibohora25 in London
After 3 somber months of commemoration activities to mark Kwibuka25, the Rwandan High Commission hosted a lively event in St Paul’s in the heart of London to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Rwanda’s Liberation. The colourful celebration was attended by over 300 jubilant guests, including friends of Rwanda, Rwandans in the UK and a large number of young people, many of whom were born and raised in the diaspora.
To mark this day of deep meaning for the Rwandan people, celebrations opened with an exhilarating dance performance by two groups of young children called ‘Inyange za London’, who are part of a cultural program that launched in 2017 to teach about their culture, language and heritage. In her remarks, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK noted that Rwanda’s leadership “allowed us all to re-set our thinking & walk a journey that Rwandans deserve”, adding that on Kwibohora25 “we celebrate the many achievements that were just distant dreams 25 years ago”. The High Commissioner called on all in attendance to play their part in ensuring that the gains made over the past 25 years are securely protected through “continued commitment of Rwandans genuinely interested in building a prosperous Rwanda.” For the Rwandans that live away from home, the history, culture and heritage is what helps preserve their ‘Rwandaness’, coupled with proactive community activities. Among the achievements to celebrate, the High Commissioner acknowledged the group of women from the Rwandese community in the UK who spearheaded the cultural programme for children aged between 5 – 14 years old, commending their diligence and commitment to share our cultural values to the next generation.
To this, Her Excellency Yamina Karitanyi noted that this Kwibohora25 was not only a celebration but also “an opportunity to thank you for being the constant Ambassadors, for being the solid base we rely on as you represent Rwanda in your communities.” Echoing these words in a recent interview with premium Westminster-based magazine, The Marylebone Journal, the High commissioner emphasised that it’s important to teach the children born in the diaspora who have not experienced Rwanda the “story of Rwanda, including the genocide but also what Rwanda signifies today.”
A strong attention was put on the young people, many of whom continue to be actively involved in the community and seeking to strengthen their ties with their home nation, with some leading the celebrations on the night. The High Commissioner called on them rise to the challenge that lies before them – that to “follow in the right footsteps” of those who liberated Rwanda, to “exercise discipline, seek to learn more about Rwanda, and to live a dignified life”. “We want to celebrate as many of you as possible” expressed the High Commissioner.
Guests were delighted to more traditional dancing from a West-Midlands based troupe comprised of young people from Birmingham and Coventry, a screening of an inspiring short film on Rwanda’s transformation journey led by a visionary leadership, and a very upbeat atmosphere of singing and dancing young and old alike. Friends of Rwanda showed their solidarity and continued friendship and positive interest to journey with Rwanda and Rwandans on this significant milestone and beyond. It is indeed a duty to share Rwanda’s story and its successes including leadership in peacekeeping, in ease of doing business, in sustainable tourism and a lot more, to be an example of resilience and of triumph despite experiencing one of the harshest injustices and tragedies in the world. It also allows us the opportunity to truly honour those who fought for and paid the ultimate sacrifice for Rwanda’s liberation, the brave men and women of the Rwandan Patriotic Army.
The High Commission in the UK continues to support and work closely with the diaspora community, empowering the young people, the future generation of Rwanda, involving them in various social and community activities, inspiring film and documentary screenings such as ‘The 600’ and indeed celebrating the young people in their strides to strengthen their connection to Rwanda and committing to be able citizens of the world and contributors to Rwanda’s continued development in whatever way they can in the next 25 years and beyond.