President Paul Kagame on Heroes Day challenged young people to take up the mantle and become heroes, following in the footsteps of the great men and women the country celebrated on February.
On the occasion of Heroes Day, the Head of State and First Lady Jeannette Kagame laid a wreath at the National Heroes Mausoleum to mark the 28th National Heroes Day ceremony.
In a series of tweets, President Kagame paid attention to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for Rwanda to be where it is today, urging the youth to strive to be changemakers with a vision to transform the country as the national heroes.
“Happy #HeroesDay! We honor the lives of the heroes -men and women- of Rwanda, and the sacrifices they made to enable us to build the dignified and united nation we live in today. That puts a heavy responsibility on each of us who are working to transform our country.”
“To our Rwandan youth: we count on you to keep the unbreakable Rwandan spirit alive for generations to come.” President Kagame tweeted.
ng exemplary individuals who defended the highest values of patriotism and sacrificed themselves for the good of the country and its citizens.
National heroes are recognized based on three categories – Imanzi, Imena, and Ingenzi. Imanzi are supreme heroes who demonstrated outstanding achievements occasioned by supreme sacrifice, outstanding importance and example. This category, which only has two people; the late Maj Gen Fred Rwigema and the Unknown Soldier, can only be awarded posthumously.
Heroes in the Imena category are recognised for their extraordinary acts for the country marked by sacrifice, high importance and example. The Ingenzi category comprises heroes who are still alive. Unlike the other categories, a list of the Ingenzi heroes has not yet been published.
The Unknown Soldier represents all the fallen soldiers of the liberation struggle that ended in 1994 with the stopping of the Genocide against the Tutsi. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at the National Heroes’ Mausoleum in Remera, next to Amahoro National Stadium. The tomb is a way of commemorating the thousands of soldiers whose remains could not be identified after the Liberation Struggle.
So far the recognised heroes are; Maj Gen. Fred Gisa Rwigema, who was the first commander of the Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A). Maj. Gen Rwigema was killed by enemy fire on the first day of the attack, sending the liberation struggle into disarray. He is remembered for mobilising Rwandans in exile towards supporting the liberation struggle and leading the forces to attack.
Umwami Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre is celebrated for advocating for the welfare of Rwandans, fighting for independence, democracy and justice during his reign as King. Other heroes include Michel Rwagasana, who like King Rudahigwa, advocated for unity, independence and denounced ethnic differences. He was killed during the regime of Gregoire Kayibanda for declining to embrace ethnic segregation.
Other celebrated heroes are former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, who was assassinated on April 7, 1994 by members of the notorious Presidential Guard, after she denounced the Genocide against the Tutsi, which was about to carried out following the death of former President Juvenal Habyarimana in a plane crash.
Félicité Niyitegeka is remembered for standing up against ethnic divisions and giving refuge to Tutsis who were being hunted by Interahamwe militia during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as well as Nyange Secondary School students who also refused to be divided based on their ethnicity and were all killed on March 18 1997, by Hutu militias who had infiltrated the country.
National Heroes Day | 1 February 2022 pic.twitter.com/8TmslW43r5
— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) February 1, 2022