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Young Rwandans mend generational wounds after roots are lost


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The youth in Rwanda are dealing with particular difficulties as the country marks the 29th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Many of them find it difficult to take part in events like weddings, birthday parties, and social gatherings.

When the nation observes its annual week of remembrance in April, the month that marked the start of the mass killings of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, these activities are typically forbidden. The restriction is implemented in remembrance of the more than 1 million lives lost and out of respect for the solemn nature of the occasion.

The trauma of the genocide is not just restricted to a lack of entertainment options for Rwandan youth during this time of remembrance. They share the suffering and scars of their parent survivors, who are still recovering from the terrible incidents that started on April 7, 1994.

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Additionally, some young people struggle with their lack of family history because they were unable to connect with their grandparents, aunts, or uncles who perished in the genocide.

Many young Rwandans are seeking ways to connect with the families they never got to meet due to a profound sense of loss and disconnect from their own history.

similar to Manzi le Poete, a stage name for Manzi Ntare Nkaka. The 22-year-old explores the untold history of the family he never had through music, poetry, and theater.

Since they may not fully appreciate the scope of the horrors that their parents and grandparents went through, “young people may sometimes feel disconnected from the commemorations of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” the author says.

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The suffering and pain that our surviving families endured are indescribable, and when we were kids, talking about it was usually taboo. This frequently left us with a lot of questions about our ancestry.

Young people should be made aware of the magnitude of the period that claimed more than a million lives in less than a hundred days, according to 25-year-old Sharon Bayingana, who founded the movement “Our Past” in response to her observation that the younger generation is disconnected from the genocide commemorations.

She claims that being raised as a survivor’s child meant being exposed to it at a young age. “I wondered why my mother didn’t have a sister or why I didn’t have a grandfather on my mother’s side. I started looking for answers about the Tutsi genocide through youth-led initiatives because of these questions, she says.

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“The ‘Our Past’ initiative engages youth about our history by visiting survivors, hosting shows, and hosting events. This is very helpful in educating people my age or younger about the Genocide against the Tutsis and the direction we should be heading in.

Claver Irakoze, who had just turned 11 at the time of the genocide. At the age of 40, the father of two now writes illuminating books to help future generations understand trauma as a way to mend his own wounds.

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