Last week HE President Paul Kagame who is also the current Chairperson of the African Union hailed four “Abarinzi b’Igihango” for the outstanding acts of courage and humanity they displayed by protecting or rescuing thousands of Rwandans during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, as well as promoting unity and reconciliation among Rwandans in its aftermath.The President was delivering a Keynote Address at the 11th Unity Club Annual Forum Dinner.
The four include late Cyprien Rugamba, Late Sister Dorothée Mukandanga, Bishop Celestin Hakizimana, and Genocide Survivors Students Association (AERG). They were awarded by Unity Club – an association of current and former cabinet members and their spouses – for protecting and rescuing thousands during the Genocide, and promoting unity and reconciliation among Rwandans in its aftermath.
The Awarding Ceremony followed the 11th Unity Club Forum held early in the morning where discussions focused on values and taboos, family as a foundation of sustainable unity, and the transmission of the Rwandan spirit to young generations.
Speaking at the dinner which was also attended by Unity Club President, First Lady Jeannette Kagame, the Head of State explained the real meaning of being Rwandan.“Those who were awarded tonight demonstrated what it means to value the life of others. They put their lives on the line to rescue fellow human beings. What is the meaning of being Rwandan? What is your answer when asked, so what if you are Rwandan? What are you contributing? If you have nothing to contribute, your identity becomes meaningless,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame further highlighted that Rwandans’ identity is filled with values and dignity.“Our identity is not empty. Empty vessels make a lot of noise. We should not be like empty vessels which make too much noise while there is nothing inside. Rwanda cannot be an empty vessel. We are putting something in the country. That something means dignity to our people, to ourselves, and to our nation,” President Kagame said.
In addition to Unity Club members, the Awarding Ceremony was also attended by senior government officials, representatives of Civil Society and Youth Organizations, representatives of the Pan-African Parliament, as well as past “Abarinzi b’Igihango” awardees.