The dialogue offers an opportunity to youth to discuss different issues including their role in fighting against Genocide ideology, and the Minister said they must know the history which led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis and its consequences so that they can participate in all activities aimed at building the country.
“If you don’t know your history, it is difficult to know what to do so that what happened to our country cannot happen again, since you cannot know where to go if you don’t know where you come from,” Nsengimana said.
Panelists explained how the colonizers divided Rwandans through arbitrary criteria. “Ones who had more than ten cows were categorized as Tutsi and those who had few were called Hutu, and the minorities were Twa. You could even see a a Twa who was called Tutsi because of the number of cows he had,” explained Kalisa Rugano, a specialist in Rwanda’s culture and history.
Edouard Bamporiki, an award-winning film maker, actor and poet who has received national and international attention for his stories of hope, unity and reconciliation, for his part testified how he always felt guilty and ashamed of belonging to a Hutu family but that changed when he started speaking out.
“Whatever I did in my career, I thought that I would be seen in the first place as a Hutu so I would never win any competition. When the President’s Office organized a competition for Liberation Day and I won, I was completely surprised and amazed,” Bamporiki said.
In reply to a question from the youth as to why Hutus were also killed during the Genocide, Minister Nsengimana explained this was because they opposed the killings. He gave the example of the Prime Minister Agathe Uwiringiyimana who was murdered shortly after the crash of Habyarimana’s airplane.
The YouthConnekt dialogue is part of the YouthConnekt month, which is aimed at assessing young Rwandans’ achievements towards development. It is also a platform for youth advocacy and gives them a strategy to contribute to nation building.