The Rwandan community in the UK and friends, hosted by the Rwanda High Commission in UK, came together to celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of Rwanda’s Liberation on Saturday July 16th 2016 at Clayton Crown Hotel in North London. Members of the Rwandan community in UK from far and near, young and old, came together in celebration. Non-Rwanda guests also joined in solidarity to celebrate with their Rwandan friends on this special occasion, reflecting on Rwanda’s achievements over the past 22 years.
Addressing the 400 guests in attendance, The High Commissioner of Rwanda in the UK, Her Excellency Yamina Karitanyi, noted that Kwibohora is not only a time of celebration, but also a time to reflect on our Nation’s journey so far, and what it will take to continue to fulfil its vision. She called on all to take ownership and “actively get engaged in shaping the destiny of our nation”, adding that we owe Rwanda the best we can achieve individually and collectively. The High Commissioner also thanked and praised the Diaspora, saying that the Government is proud of the significant role they continue to play in their respective communities around the world.
The celebratory evening included traditional Rwandan dance performances by ‘Abeza’ troupe from Nottingham, poetry and music performances by Rwandan musicians JP Samputu and Kitoko as well as a moving song for Rwanda by Jennifer Kamikazi. Guests watched a short video on the meaning and significance of Rwanda’s Liberation ‘Kwibohora’ to put the evening into context, in which His Excellency President Paul Kagame states that “Liberation sometimes begins with a military campaign, but it does not end with one”, and that this is the phase where Rwanda is today – the phase of the Liberation struggle that begins after the guns have finally fallen silent, and overcoming the challenges left by the Genocide Against the Tutsi in 1994.
Her Excellency Yamina Karitanyi noted that Rwandans across the world have a lot to be proud of and to celebrate, such as the inclusiveness of the country’s Government policies, the Nation’s strides in gender parity, good leadership and politics, security for all Rwandans, access to education and healthcare and economic transformation, all built on home-grown solutions and the shared identity of ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’. Echoing the message by His Excellency Paul Kagame, The High Commissioner also noted that despite its great achievements to date, Rwanda still has a way to go and now is the time to get involved, as there is equal distribution of responsibility of rebuilding Rwanda amongst Rwandans all over the world.
The evening of celebration carried on to late at night, with guests joining in dancing to ‘Intsinzi’, waving their Rwandan flags and displaying unified pride and patriotism.
For more photos, visit: flickr.com/rwandahighcommissionuk/kwibohora22