Known as the land of a thousand hills.
Rwanda is a densely populated, land-locked country in east-central Africa. Its neighbours are Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is mountainous, with grassy uplands, steep hills and deep valleys. Most people live in rural areas. The volcanic range which spans Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the endangered mountain gorilla.
Rwanda is hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Over one million Rwandans – overwhelmingly Tutsi, but also moderate Hutu, Twa and others who opposed the genocide – were brutally killed in 100 days during the 1994 Genocide. Rwandans commemorate (Kwibuka – ‘to remember” in Kinyarwanda) the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi on April 7 which was also adopted by the United Nations as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide Against the Tutsi.
Kinyarwanda is the national language and the first language of the majority of the country. Alongside Kinyarwanda, French and English are also official languages.
12.95 million (2022)
H.E. Johnston Busingye
2009, Rwanda became its 54th member; first country to join the Commonwealth under the revised membership criteria, endorsed at the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala; and one of only two members without historic ties to the United Kingdom.
Melody Ingabire an Administrative Officer at the Rwandan High Commission in London, and a poet.
Speak for the People
Twenty-five years ago
We were surrounded,
To change gears,
Anger and danger.
We made enemies?
We made strangers?
Instead of harm?
We do each other favours!
We make headlines in papers-
And the same world
That had forsaken us-
Now remembers us..
In a different Light.
Relearning the Power Soft
I’ve forgotten the power of soft.
The power of malleable material.
The power of the heart, a heart not set in stone.
See, the sermon from the world is calling for the strong, the unmoved, unbothered and so I have walked out of my skin, left it behind and walked naked onto the battlefield.
Lies I have told myself over and over. This is it, I’ve said, this is you, well done I’ve said.
And I am, I am winning at being as cold as the Antarctic, hard as a rock, unbothered as a corpse. So, I ask myself this, are you a machete, a gun or the latest ammunition, who and what have you become.
At the frontline of this battle I sit defeated, depleted.
I sit on the ground for all to see, I am not ashamed.
Suddenly, I feel lighter ego climbs off my back, youth returns, I breathe. For the first time in years tears,tears,like I remember because for a while now, I have ignored this well of water collecting underneath my surface.
As water flows down my Sahara like drab of a body, skin unfolds, spring has sprung and growth has begun in me. Soon my dry bones are a nourished body, a top my skin melanin flowing like honey. Heart filled with love, a tinge of regret and failure and yet a power so strong unlike the strength I’ve been told to believe in.
Now that I am rooted here at this battlefield, both feet deeply grounded growth unstoppable, I will tower over all, I will fight like I can conquer. Now that I remember my heart, my soft heart that led me here I do not will to undress myself of this Glory, of this softness, of my true self.