Genocide Memorial Centres in Rwanda : In 1994, the Rwandan genocide took place, leaving over 1 million people dead. In order to remember the genocide and ensure that it never happens again, there are currently Genocide Memorial Centers in Rwanda. The country was completely devastated, with many survivors left with nothing. Many of them fled to neighboring Burundi and other countries in Africa in search of safety, where they struggled to survive among hostile populations and rampant poverty. Over one million refugees escaped to neighboring countries as a result of the genocide, and many more are still trying to escape to safety. The Rwandan Genocide is truly a horrible event that unfolded in Rwanda between April and July of 1994.
Over a million people were killed during this period as a result of the massacres carried out by the extremist group known as the Hutu Power Army. In the city of Butare, a hospital was converted into a military camp where the extremist group used to carry out their killings. On April 7, 1994, the extremists entered the hospital and killed more than 500 people before burning the building to the ground. Many of the victims were buried on the grounds of the hospital but were eventually exhumed and reburied at a nearby cemetery after being identified by family members. The remains of the victims are displayed in a memorial room at the memorial center in Butare along with a collection of artifacts and photographs from the era.
There are more than 250 registered genocide memorial centers across the country. These centers are dedicated to remembering and honoring the victims, documenting and recording the history, and supporting survivors of the genocide. Here are some of the memorials you can visit on your next Rwanda tour.
Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre
The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre is a museum in Kigali dedicated to recording the history of the genocide and educating people about what happened. The center has a detailed exhibit that explains what happened during the genocide through photos, artifacts, letters, and diaries from people who experienced it. There are also audio interviews of people who survived the genocide, as well as information and exhibits about the current situation in the country. The museum is free to visit and is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm every day except Sundays. It has both English and Kinyarwanda language guides for visits. It is located in the former headquarters of Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines, which was the location of the first radio broadcasts of the killings carried out by the extremists in April 1994. It’s best to visit during the day, as the lights can be too bright at night.
Nyanza Genocide Memorial Centre
The Nyanza Genocide Memorial Centre is located on the grounds of the Nyamata Church Complex in Bugesera District. The complex was founded in 1936 by the Belgians as a church for local residents. The church was burned down during the genocide and the current complex was built to house the memorials. The church is still open for visitors and can be seen from the outside only. The memorial center is located on the grounds behind the main building and includes a number of exhibitions that document the history of the genocide and the events that took place in and around Bugesera District. There is also a statue of Jesus standing over the ruins of the church that was destroyed during the genocide. The memorial center is open daily from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and has English and French-speaking guides available for visitors, Genocide Memorial Centres in Rwanda
Butare Genocide Memorial Centre
The Butare Genocide Memorial Centre is located in the town of Butare, which is about an hour and a half drive from Kigali. The town is located in the south of the country near the Burundi border. The site was originally a monastery that was converted to a hospital during the colonial period. The hospital was burned to the ground by the extremist group during the genocide and the site was abandoned for many years until 2007 when the government began redeveloping the land and the surrounding area. The memorial center includes a small museum with information on the history of the site and a monument to commemorate the victims of the massacre that took place at the hospital on April 7, 1994. There are also a number of monuments in the area that were erected to commemorate other atrocities that took place in the surrounding region. The center is open to the public every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and has English-speaking guides available to assist visitors.