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The Embarrassing Photograph France Would Rather Doesn’t Exist

Posted on 28 March 2015 by peter

On June 25, 1994, Boniface Higiro was 19 years. At around 11:00am, a convoy of military and white civilian vehicles drove uphill towards Bisesero, located in Western Rwanda.

“We saw white people calling us to come down as they were here to rescue us,” narrates Higiro, now 40 years. And they did come out hoping for protection.

Boniface Higiro is one of the 900 surviving Tutsis from what turned out to be one of the worst mass extermination projects in which tens of thousands of Tutsis were lured to their death by French troops.

Twenty one years later, after the Genocide against the Tutsis, he still has vivid recollections of the few days that will remain ingrained in his memory forever.

Bisesero located in the hilly region of Kibuye prefecture, today’s Karongi District. Before the genocide began en-mass on April 6, 1994, it was considered to have more Tutsis than Hutus, according to an academician, Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana.

It was target of the ex-government forces and genocide Interahamwe militias. Despite months of reinforcements, Tutsis armed with stones, sticks and anything they could get hold o, battled for survival to counter mass attacks.

Hundreds died due to the overwhelming power of the attacks coordinated from the highest levels of the interim government led by Theodore Sindikubwabo.

Survivors including Kwigize Jean, say that the militias who were brought from adjacent regions and began occupying the hill tops. It was from there that they strode downhill armed with the most crude weapons and guns to clear out all Tutsis.

Tutsis then organized themselves into coordinated resistance groups. “We knew for years that one day extremists will come to exterminate us, and indeed they did” says Kwigize. “There were only two options; fight the killers or wait to be wiped out.”

Bisesero in 1994

Three French journalists

The former Finance Finance, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, is serving life sentence for his role providing a constant supply of weapons for militias to head to Bisesero. Convicted Aloys NDIMBATI, the bourgmestre of nearby Gisovu commune also availed government vehicles that ferried the militias to Bisesero.

Up until June, Tutsis in Bisesero fought running battles pushing the militia onslaught up the hills, as the latter moved down clearing anything with breathe.

Whenever they were overwhelmed, the militias retreated while burning up everything to deny food and hiding places for Tutsis.

Then on June 27, news spread quickly that white people had arrived in Bisesero.

Exhausted and hungry, many Tutsis were still alive. Higiro and Kwigize, with thousands others moved towards the French convoy.

The two remember very well seeing French commandos urging them to return to their homes and a camp was set up at the exact location.

The French soldiers were accompanied by government forces. Higiro and Kwigize say they pleaded with their visitors to either stay or be relocate to other regions. But as they cried for protection, militias and government soldiers laughed.

Within hours, the French told the crowding Tutsi survivors that they would return “tomorrow”, before driving off.

Three French journalists from three of France’s biggest media were on the convoy including Patrick de Saint-Exupéry. He has since published a series of award-winning publications about his time in the region.

Meanwhile, on the evening of the same day, survivors saw buses and military trucks driving towards Bisesero from all directions.

From a distance, the occupants sung and chanted as though they were heading for a big celebration. The final assault on Bisesero was being prepared.

As the massacre went on in Bisesero region, Patrick de Saint-Exupéry writes that on June, 29, French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur and Defense Minister François Léotard arrived in Kibuye to visit their troops.

Saint-Exupéry reportedly asked the two officials in an unscripted exchange what was going to be done for Tutsis holed up the mountains.

“We will go there,” responded Balladur, according to Saint-Exupéry’s account. “…tomorrow, we will go there.”

Bisesero March 2015

Hope from horror

Data from UN indictments which led to conviction of several government officials and businessmen for their role in the Bisesero massacre shows that internal planning had set June 30, as the deadline to “finalise work in Bisesero”. It was the date by which no Tutsis would be left in the area.

French troops were part of a UN-mandated. The French contingent set up the infamous ‘Zone Turquoise’ covering Wester and some parts of Southern Rwanda.

As the photo taken 21 years ago shows, nothing much has changed in the exact location where it was taken by a civilian member of the convoy.

About 300m away is the magnificent Bisesero genocide memorial site built on one of the hills.

The embarrassing photo, along with the remains of the tens of thousands of victims, is laid to rest inside the memorial.

On March 21, 2015, more than 700 orphans from different parts of the country made the emotional journey back to Bisesero.

The orphans grouped in the Association of Student Genocide Survivors and former students cleaned the memorial site, built a new house for a vulnerable survivor and rewarded two individuals for saving Tutsis.

An elderly woman who hid Tutsis and watched her husband killed, was rewarded with a cow. The military also promised her to a well-furnished house.

Today, the population of Bisesero is largely comprised of frail elderly people and some in their 40s, all of whom are males.

The old, women and children who could not survive the militia assault, hunger and disease, died during the horrific days of June.

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Source: KT Press

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Why is Nyange memorial site in bad shape?

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Why is Nyange memorial site in bad shape?

Posted on 11 March 2015 by peter

Why is Nyange memorial site in bad shape?

Families of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi victims in Nyange sector of Ngororero district are wondering why Nyange memorial site is in a poor condition.

“Us, whose relative’s remains lie in the Rukumberi memorial site, we are really sad. We would be delighted if this site was upgraded and put up to required standards,” said Donathile Mukandekezi, a genocide survivor from Nyange sector.

Why is Nyange memorial site in bad shape?

Nyange memorial site, where remains of at least 7,217  killed in the Genocide lie, is described by Jean d’Amour Niyosenga, president of IBUKA; an umbrella organization for genocide survivors in Ngororero district, as “historical site”, considering how the Genocide perpetrators used copters to chase Tutsis who attempted to find refuge in the area.

However, it had been revealed in 2014 by Jean De Dieu Mucyo, the president of the National Commission against genocide (CNLG) that it was due to misunderstandings between Nyundo catholic Diocese and Ngororero district concerning the site.

It was due to this revelation that Gideon Ruboneza, mayor of Ngororero district highlighted that the district entered into partnership with CNLG and the Diocese to construct to upgrade Nyanza memorial site.

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Nyanza: GAERG, AERG help vulnerable genocide survivors

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Nyanza: GAERG, AERG help vulnerable genocide survivors

Posted on 11 March 2015 by peter

Members of GAERG, and AERG, the organizations for genocide survivor former university students donated to vulnerable genocide survivors to help them improve on social standards.

GEARG and AERG on March 7, donated cows, renovated houses and built kitchen gardens (uturima tw’igikoni) for the vulnerable old genocide widows.

The event was marked by umuganda in Kibilizi sector in Nyanza district where participants visited and paid respect to over 300 bodies of the genocide victims at Kibilizi memorial centre.

Members of GAERG, and AERG, the organizations for genocide survivor former university students donated to vulnerable genocide survivors to help them improve on social standards. GEARG and AERG on March 7, donated cows, renovated houses and built kitchen gardens (uturima tw’igikoni) for the vulnerable old genocide widows. The event was marked by umuganda in Kibilizi sector in Nyanza district where participants visited and paid respect to over 300 bodies of the genocide victims at Kibilizi memorial centre

Odette Uwambayinzobe, a beneficiary and genocide widow commended youth for the cow saying she will be drinking milk once it gets an offspring.

“This cow will give me milk in addition to keeping me busy in my old age. May God reward your efforts” she said.

Nyanza: GAERG, AERG help vulnerable genocide survivors

AERG and GAERG members build a kitchen garden in Kibilizi sector

Uwambayinzobe added that though she lives alone in the house, she will try her best and take good care of the cow because she already grew the grass to feed it.

Jean Bosco Munyaneza, coordinator of AERG-INILAK Nyanza branch told this website that the purpose of the umuganda is to help vulnerable 1994 Tutsi genocide survivors as they prepare for 21st genocide commemoration.

Nyanza: GAERG, AERG help vulnerable genocide survivors

The renovated house was at the verge of collapsing

GAERG and AERG members were joined by residents of Kibilizi sector in community work to help improve the lives of vulnerable genocide survivors.

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Tourism, hospitality graduates urged to be entrepreneurs

Tourism, hospitality graduates urged to be entrepreneurs

Posted on 23 January 2015 by peter

Tourism, hospitality graduates urged to be entrepreneurs

Graduands   completing their courses   in tourism and hospitality have been challenged to look at starting their own businesses as one way of contributing to the development of the country.

Zulfat Mukarubega, founder   and legal representative of RwandaTourism University Colleg-RTUC said that    Rwanda requires more entrepreneurs mainly in the hospitality and   tourism   sector to   foster its service delivery.

“ do not  bury your heads in frustration and wait for  the opportune time and cash  fortunes to  start your  business, start  today,”  she  said  during  the 3rd graduation  ceremony for the university  on Thursday.

Sheadds, “Ican’t stress strongly enough   how determined you must be, for the road to success is neither short nor easy. Many will fail at some point, and you must learn   to overcome heavy doses offrustration, burn out and disappointment along the way”.

Mukarubega said that RTUC has equipped the graduands   with   all the skills, competencies and right attitude that they need to transform the Rwandan society in customer care   and entrepreneurship.

“May Rwandans   to world class and the international community out there arelooking up to you Graduands to set a benchmark as employees and more importantly, entrepreneurs,” she added

Rwanda Tourism University College-RTUC began  in  2000 and was accredited and given degree awarding powers  by government  in 2012 offers   courses in Business information technology, hotel and restaurant management, travel and tourism management, vocational  training  programs and media studies.

Callixte Kabera, vice rector of the University said that the  university  college  has been vital in closing the skills gap that has been facing the tourism  sector in the country through  provision of  locally trained  skilled labour.

“We provide hands- on skills to our graduates which we believe   help them to perform well at their workplace,” he said

A total of 433 graduates have received their degrees , diplomas  and certificates  that will help  them   perform  and compete  favorably  in the  tourism  sector.

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Rwanda eyes heritage to boost tourism

Rwanda eyes heritage to boost tourism

Posted on 06 January 2015 by peter

Rwanda eyes heritage to boost tourism

“Economic benefits of heritage tourism include creating new jobs and businesses, increasing tax revenues, and diversifying the local economy” remarks Minister Francois Kanimba.

The Minister also pointed out that, those economic benefits are not the only reason why heritage tourism may be good for your community—“it has quality-of-life benefits as well”.

”Heritage tourism helps preserve your town’s unique character, which results in greater civic pride. Residents benefit too! There are more opportunities available such as shops, activities, and entertainment offerings that the local market alone might not be able to support”, said Minister Kanimba.

What is Heritage Tourism?

Heritage Tourism refers activities and services which provide international and domestic visitors with the opportunity to experience, understand and enjoy the special values of a region’s heritage, are sometimes referred to as heritage tourism.

‘Heritage’ and ‘Culture’ have become interchangeable and elastic terms. In the context of the arts for example, the use of the term culture relates to how a society’s history, beliefs, values, traditions and icons are manifested in an artistic format. The term often embraces Indigenous and natural culture, depending upon the perspective of the proponent.

Heritage tourism occupies a significant proportion of the ‘cultural tourism’ spectrum, and while it often overlaps with and links to other tourism product, the historic or human dimensions considerably inform and shape all parts of the spectrum. In this sense, heritage provides an ‘overarching’ component or common thread for many tourism products in a country or localized area.

Tourism remains at the top of the country’s foreign exchange earners and has retained a share of international business while the country’s opportunities to grow its tourism services are immense, ranging from hosting meetings and conferences, tapping into religious and cultural experiences, taking advantage of its eco and national parks and expanding water and leisure sports.

Rwanda has since invested in the convention bureau and other infrastructure and is seeking investors for spa and golf resort hotels along Lake Kivu and a cable car system on the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park. In addition, a new cultural village will be set up in Kigali to showcase a spectrum of the nation’s heritage in one setting.

Within the framework of implementing the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan which is among the highlights of the Government seven year plan, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba chaired a validation workshop on the dubbed “Heritage Corridor Tourism Sub-Master Plan connecting Kigali to the Nyungwe National Park”.

The study was commissioned in collaboration with Rwanda Development Board and aims to transform this region into a competitive tourists’ destination in Rwanda.

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Nyanza Organises New cultural festival

Nyanza Organises New cultural festival

Posted on 25 December 2014 by peter

Nyanza Organises New cultural festival

Rwanda’s tourism industry has continued to be diversified with the latest being the introduction of a cultural festival this Boxing day.

The Nyanza District, home to some of the country’s most impressive historical cultural sites from the former kingdom, has partnered with the National Institute for Museums and others to launch a culture festival held for the first time this year on Boxing Day, December 26.

Information received from Kigali confirms that the Rwesero Art Museum has been selected as the venue for the inaugural event which according to the source will become part of Rwanda’s annual calendar of festivals.

Traditional song, poetry, arts, and crafts, alongside traditional food preparations, will form the core of the various activities for the day, aimed to bring closer the country’s rich history to the present day generation.

The festival targets not only Rwandans but also visitors from Eastern Africa and foreign tourists who are in the country and have the opportunity to stop by and enjoy some of the performances.

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Tourist visa fees scrapped

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Tourist visa fees scrapped

Posted on 24 December 2014 by peter

Tourist visa fees scrapped

Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have waived visa fees for foreign residents to allow easy access to the region’s diverse tourism experience.

According to Yamina Karitanyi, the Rwanda Development Board’s Head of Department for Tourism and Conservation, the waiver was agreed on under the Northern Corridor Integration projects initiative.

Known as the East Africa Tourist Visa (EATV), foreign residents no longer have to pay the $100 fee for the visa that is valid for 90 days effective December 15, 2014.

Karitanyi, said the waiver on the single East Africa Tourist Visa was the next step in consolidating and enriching the region’s tourism potential.

“We are approaching the rest of the world as a unified and rich tourist destination with varied experiences for travellers. We are also positioning East Africa’s tourism assets collectively as part of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects,” Karitanyi said at the weekend.

She added that joint marketing programmes will be carried out annually and will cover road shows such as the International Tourism Board (ITB) and World Travel Market (WTM) in 2015.

She pointed out that going forward, the partner states will lobby for a single stand during international tourism marketing events.

Outlining the modalities of implementation, Karitanyi said eligible foreign residents shall be issued with inter state pass on exiting the host state and visitor’s pass endorsed in their passports on arrival by presenting valid work/resident permits.

Other immigration procedures and regulations will, however, be maintained.
In preparing for the joint marketing programmes, she noted that the partner states were already gearing up the teams involved by conducting destination training workshops and disseminating information on the use of national identity cards, student/voters cards and the East Africa Tourist Visa.

“We encourage the private sector to take advantage of this opportunity to offer unbeatable packages while maximising win-win offers.”

The just concluded 8th Northern Corridor Integration Summit attended by Presidents; Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, held in Nairobi last week, also directed Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure to convene a meeting of Airline Industry stakeholders and finalise negotiations on the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights on Entebbe-Nairobi-Juba-Nairobi meant to address outstanding issues to reduce the cost of air travel in the region and report to the next Summit that will be held in Kigali.

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Things that you shouldn’t miss in Kibuye town

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Things that you shouldn’t miss in Kibuye town

Posted on 05 December 2014 by peter

Things that you shouldn’t miss in Kibuye town

If you ever think of visiting or taking off a vacation to a tranquil and quite place anywhere in Rwanda, Kibuye town is one of the perfect spots that will be highly recommended.

Located in the Western Province of Rwanda, Kibuyetown is about two hour drive from the capital Kigali. The most interesting aspect about this town is that you will never get lost. The town is built on a single roundabout, arguably the biggest on the region, in that if all roads will lead you to the same place

The town lies on the eastern shore of Lake Kivu, about halfway down, and between Gisenyi and Cyangugu but is largely known for having touristic activities and being a serene place to be in touch with nature.

Surround by Lake Kivu from all angles, the town boasts of hotels, a golf course, a newly built environment museum and a beach. Gold Eden Rock, Bethany Hotel, Moriah Hill and Holiday Hotel are just but a few of the known hotels in the town.

Things that you shouldn’t miss in Kibuye town

The town is also known for being home to one of the rarest lake delicacies of baby fish – which is locally known as sambaza, found in Lake Kivu. The sambaza delicacies are one of the dishes served with locally made cassava flour and the taste of this meal is one the can only be experienced in person.

A boat ride is relatively cheap depending on the number of people on board, but it is recommended that you visit the Amahoro (peace) island where you will watch variety of birds, a domesticated monkey that can share a bottle of beer with the visitors to the amusement.

The Amahoro Island gives one a panorama view of the whole lake and some moments one thinks that they are going to cross the horizons from one planet to another. The perfect view of the sunset on this island is one of the magnificent views as the splash waters hit rocks towards the skyline.

Don’t miss visiting the Bisesero genocide memorial site, a place where Rwandans stood against the genocidaires refusing to divide the community in to Tutsi’s and Hutus during the 1994 genocide memorial.

Here, over 4000 residents had gathered on top of Muyira Hill with stones and spears ready to defend themselves. Mortar 81s and 82s faced the hill letting loose the gigantic bullets as the interahamwe extremists rose up the hill. At the same time the Bisesero Tutsis were aware they had been attacked – upon anyone who tried to go up to the top they would throw stones and spears in defense.

 

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Things that you shouldn’t miss in Kibuye town

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Things that you shouldn’t miss in Kibuye town

Posted on 04 December 2014 by peter

Things that you shouldn’t miss in Kibuye town

If you ever think of visiting or taking off a vacation to a tranquil and quite place anywhere in Rwanda, Kibuye town is one of the perfect spots that will be highly recommended.

Located in the Western Province of Rwanda, Kibuye town is about two hour drive from the capital Kigali. The most interesting aspect about this town is that you will never get lost. The town is built on a single roundabout, arguably the biggest on the region, in that if all roads will lead you to the same place

The town lies on the eastern shore of Lake Kivu, about halfway down, and between Gisenyi and Cyangugu but is largely known for having touristic activities and being a serene place to be in touch with nature.

Things that you shouldn’t miss in Kibuye town

Surround by Lake Kivu from all angles, the town boasts of hotels, a golf course, a newly built environment museum and a beach. Gold Eden Rock, Bethany Hotel, Moriah Hill and Holiday Hotel are just but a few of the known hotels in the town.

The town is also known for being home to one of the rarest lake delicacies of baby fish – which is locally known as sambaza, found in Lake Kivu. The sambaza delicacies are one of the dishes served with locally made cassava flour and the taste of this meal is one the can only be experienced in person.

A boat ride is relatively cheap depending on the number of people on board, but it is recommended that you visit the Amahoro (peace) island where you will watch variety of birds, a domesticated monkey that can share a bottle of beer with the visitors to the amusement.

The Amahoro Island gives one a panorama view of the whole lake and some moments one thinks that they are going to cross the horizons from one planet to another. The perfect view of the sunset on this island is one of the magnificent views as the splash waters hit rocks towards the skyline.

Don’t miss visiting the Bisesero genocide memorial site, a place where Rwandans stood against the genocidaires refusing to divide the community in to Tutsi’s and Hutus during the 1994 genocide memorial.

Here, over 4000 residents had gathered on top of Muyira Hill with stones and spears ready to defend themselves. Mortar 81s and 82s faced the hill letting loose the gigantic bullets as the interahamwe extremists rose up the hill. At the same time the Bisesero Tutsis were aware they had been attacked – upon anyone who tried to go up to the top they would throw stones and spears in defense.

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Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge Named Among Top 100 Hotels and Resorts in the World

Posted on 02 November 2014 by peter

According to the Cond

According to the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2013, Sabyinyo was recognized on the top list of Conde Nast Top Hotels in the world placing the lodge 19th on the Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World—in the Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards 2014.

 

The Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a luxury lodge that has been built right on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park.

 

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge has the rightful incentives as a destination needed to boost tourism in Rwanda in the areas of leisure and adventure.

 

Rwanda is investing in Infrastructure and other tourism facilities to meet the growing demand for accommodation to secure the sector.

 

From the deep veranda of any of the eight chalets outfitted in warm hues and African materials, you can see the mist-shrouded hills made famous by the late zoologist Dian Fossey.

 

On one side are the slopes of Sabyinyo, one of five inactive volcanoes in the park, making this the first high-end lodging in an area that, along with the adjoining parks in Uganda and Congo, is the last refuge of the endangered mountain gorilla.

 

The property, owned by a community trust and run by Governors’ Camp in Kenya, is a special hybrid of safari lodge and small hotel—with the best elements of both good taste, deluxe bathrooms, attentive staff.

 

In the ranch-style main building, with its sweeping views, there’s a dining room with a menu that aims for haute.

 

Fireplaces in both public and private spaces are for those cold, mosquito-less evenings that follow a muddy day in the park, wandering behind your guide to see one of the gorilla troops.

 

Tourism has been gradually rebounding abreast with emerging ventures that complement the country’s natural riches, including the much-anticipated Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge are what the country needs.

 

Sabyinyo is also ranked number 4 in top 20 safari lodges and camps in Africa in the very prestigious Conde Nast Readers Choice among others.

 

 

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