Kigali, the Capital of Rwanda


Crossing from Uganda to Rwanda there were huge differences that I had not known before getting there.

First off the official language (in addition to local language) was French instead of English, I went from dusty dirt roads to paved roads, it was more clean, quiet and.. a bit weird. Although Rwanda ranks 205 of 228 on the CIA World Factbook listing of BNP per capita, it seemed like it wanted to appear as it was on the top. Their airport was brand new, they had air-conditioned buses instead of cramped matatu minivans, you had to wear a helmet and it was only allowed with one passengers on a motorbike, they had led lamps to mark the line between the road and the sidewalk BUT people were still sitting on the roads selling fruits from baskets, living in simple houses and there was absolutely nowhere to find Wi-Fi in the city (I walked for hours looking!).

Kigali is famous for being the dullest capital in East Africa so I had just set myself one goal for my three day stay: to learn more about the genocide that happened here in 1994.

In short the Rwandans have the same language, culture etc but they were split by the European colonists based on their wealth; if they were herders of cattle they would be called tutsies and if they were peasant tillers of the soil they called them Hutus. This has divided the Rwandans ever since until the genocide where the Hutus received machetes, radios and other farming equipment by the ministry of agriculture who then afterwards ordered them to kill their Tutsi neighbors.

I went to three genocide memorials, two of them churches where the Tutsis had sought shelter until hutus came to tear down the walls, throw grenades, gas them, burn them alive etc. The guides demonstrated sticks which they would shove into the genitals until it reaches their heads, we were shown thousands of pieces of clothing, bones skulls etc from victims and we were shown a wall will lots of blood remains where they would slam the heads of the children, just as they did in the Killing Fields in Cambodia. The horror of what was going on these places were beyond imagination.

I also read about a unicef trauma survey which reported the following statistics about the Rwandan population in 1995:

99,9% experienced violence

79,6% experienced death in the family

69,5% witnessed someone being killed

90,6% believed they would die

The genocide affected everyone so if you ever go to Rwanda I would highly recommend visiting these donation based memorials to get awareness about the history and make sure that this will never happen again.


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