As the sun began to rise on Friday the 28th of April 2023, participants of the International Women’s Day Conference hosted by Custodian Global Consult and Duchess International Magazine were already gearing up for the day’s itinerary. The third and final day of the conference saw the group take a trip to Nyanza in the Nyanza district (formerly Butare) where they visited the King’s Museum and the Nyanza Genocide Memorial.
The visit to the King’s Museum was an eye-opening experience as the group was shown the rich history of Rwanda, including the activities of past kings such as how they entertained, served alcohol, welcomed guests, and expanded the nation. One of the surprising discoveries made was that King Mutara III Rudahigwa was the first king to own a car – a Volkswagen, no less. However, it was also revealed that the king had no children, possibly due to the influence of the colonists.
From the museum, the group proceeded to the Nyanza Genocide Memorial where they learned about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The participants, who were not previously aware of this tragedy, were left stunned and bewildered by the horrific events that occurred. The visit to the memorial site was an emotional one, with many struggling to comprehend how such a tragedy could happen.
Abolaji Odunuga, one of the organizers of the conference, described the trip as a great experience, as they were able to see the beauty of Rwanda and its commitment to a green environment. The group learned how Rwanda no longer uses plastic and enjoyed grinding while singing traditional songs. They also had the opportunity to take pictures with cows and even danced with them.
Despite the joyous moments, the visit to the Nyanza Genocide Memorial was a somber reminder of the past. Many of the participants were moved to tears by the caskets, rings, pictures, and torn clothes on display. Mr. Olayinka Odeajo, one of the organizers of the conference, expressed his desire to write about the experience, stating that it was important to spread awareness and prevent such tragedies from happening again.
As the group left the memorial site, they continued to Century Park for the official closing of the International Women’s Day Conference. Before they left, they paid their respects to the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi, vowing to never forget the tragedy and the lessons learned from it.
The visit to the King’s Museum and Nyanza Genocide Memorial was a profound and educational experience for the participants of the International Women’s Day Conference. It was a journey that not only showcased the beauty and richness of Rwanda’s history and culture but also reminded them of the horrors of the past and the importance of promoting peace and unity.