Rwanda has made remarkable progress since the 1994 genocide but it’s important for both Rwandans and visitors alike to learn about what happened and remember the victims hence the country has preserved the memorial sites.
Bisesero Memorial Site
The site is situated in Karongi District in the Western Province and is about 31km from lakeside Kibuye Town.The majority of people who lived in Bisesero were Tutsis cattle keepers. They staged a resistance against the soldiers and the Intarahamwe Militias for some days because they chose the top of the hill on which there were many rocks which they threw at the advancing attackers. They were eventually unsuccessful because they were fighting with sticks and rocks against well armed and trained soldiers and militias. Over 50,000 Tutsis were killed and only a few Tutsis who lived in Bisesero escaped.
Murambi Memorial Centre
Murambi Memorial Centre is located in Nyamagaba District, Southern Province near Gikongoro Town about 145km from Kigali Capital City. The centre is housed in the buildings that were intended to host a technical school and it was still under construction when the genocide took place. About 45,000 victims of genocide were killed here and bodies dumped into a mass grave by the Interahamwe Hutu militia. Tutsi from the surrounding area fled to church in Gikongoro when the killings began and the big crowd was advised by the church to go to Murambi on 16th April 1994.
Ntarama Memorial Site
Ntarama Memorial Site is located in Ntarama Town which about an hour drive from Kigali. Ntarama Town is in Kigali Province in an area known as Bugesera. Ntarama Memorial Site is a red-brick Catholic place of worship covered by Acacia trees. It is a church where some of the most brutal killings of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide took place.
In April 1994 about 5,000 sought refuge in Ntarama Church from the Intarahamwe Hutu Militias. On April 15, 1994 the Hutu Militia broke into the church compound and slaughtered every person.Some of the remains of victims including human skulls and bones can still be seen. The belongings of the victims including clothes, suitcases and a child’s white sock still cover the church floor.The coffins in front of the church house contain skeletons for relatives and visitors to pay their respects.
Nyamata Genocide Memorial
Nyamata is situated in Bugesera region approximately 35km from the Kigali City in Rwanda. Nymataa and its surrounding region suffered some of the most extensive devastation, horrifying violence that took place in 1994against the Tutsi and moderate Hutus. The genocide memorial at Nyamata Church gives a deeply saddening and moving look into the reality of the Rwandan Genocide.
When the Genocide began in April of 1994 all residents of the region gathered to sought protection at the local church. They locked the iron door with a padlock to protect themselves from the marauding killers members of the Interahamwe Hutu Militia and the Rwandan Government Forces. The killers broke down the door entered the church with rifles, grenades and machetes massacred all the people who were in the church About 10,000 victims were killed in and around the Catholic Church compound on April 10th 1994 by the Hutu militias.
Kigali Memorial Centre/Gisozi Memorial
The Centre is situated in the Gasabo District located in Kigali Capital City of Rwanda and the centre is 4.3km from Kigali City. This was an International Centre that was created by a joint partnership of the Kigali City Council, UK-Based Aegis Trust and other donors worldwide.
The centre which was opened on the 10th Anniversary of Rwandan Genocide in April 2004 is a permanent memorial for victims of the 1994 genocide. It is built on a site where over 250.000 Tutsi victims were buried. The centre is reminder of the cost of ignorance, memorial for those who fell victim and also serves as a place for people to grieve those they lost. The centre contains the following:
- Permanent house sections of exhibition of Rwanda Genocide and of other genocides around the world.
- The permanent house also has a children ‘s memorial section
- A library which has the teaching the history of Genocide.
The Kigali memorial centre is maintained by goodwill donations left by visitors