Rwanda Genocide Memorials
Murambi Genocide Memorial Site
This project is centered on the main building in Murambi, a school that has been left vacated since the genocide in 1994. The school classrooms where over eight hundred corpses have been preserved have been left untouched. After the genocide, as mass graves were being discovered around the city, it was decided that a single monument/ burial place should be created, where the victims could be laid to rest with dignity.
The memorial houses a children’s section, a particularly powerful experience to read about the children- how they lived, and how they died.
On the ground floor on the main building new walls were constructed to create a space that allowed for the design of the exhibition and burial place. The open hall on the ground floor of the main building now has a pathway, which leads visitors first to an exhibition describing the context of the genocide, then into the burial rooms. The burial rooms allow some of the preserved human remains to be viewed, while at the same time they are also buried with some dignity. Some of the survivors of the genocide have been trained as guides at the centre.
Gisozi Memorial site
It is situated in the Gasabo District, in the city of Kigali. It is where the victims of Tutsi Genocide are buried from the year 2000. It contains a cemetery, a house of exhibition on Genocide section; a library and it has a plan of teaching the history of genocide. There are about 300,000 victims buried there. It is the only memorial site in Kigali. For a real, heart-in-your-throat experience, it is important to visit two other genocide memorials, sites which actually became slaughterhouses in April 1994. Nyamata and Ntarama are about 25 kilometers from Kigali (and only about 1 km apart from each other).
Gisenyi Memorial site
You will take a taxi to see the grave of Madame Carr, an American who ran an orphanage for genocide orphans called Imbabazi. The road that leads to the orphanage is near the UNHCR Nkamira refugee camp (on the left, if driving away from Gisenyi; on the right, if driving toward Gisenyi).
Nyamata memorial site
Nyamata is situated in the Bugesera district of Rwanda about 35 km from the capital city of Kigali. During the genocide, many people used the Catholic Church as a refuge. However, according to the testimonies given by survivors, on April 10th 1994 about 10,000 people were killed in and around the area of the Catholic Church. People from all around congregated in the church and locked the iron door with a padlock to protect themselves from the marauding killers. This church and its contents are a reminder of the horrifying violence that took place at this site during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
Bisesero Memorial site
It is in the Karongi District, Western Province. More than 27,000 victims of genocide are buried here. They were killed after a brave and long resistance and self defence until they were betrayed by French soldiers. This memorial is composed of nine small buildings which represent the nine communes that formerly made up the province of Kibuye. One should remember that this site, where the memorial has been built, is now called “Hill of Resistance”because of the heroic resistance mounted by the people of Bisesero against their assassins.
Ntarama Memorial site
The Genocide Memorial is located about 30 kilometers south of the capital city of Kigali. Located in the Bugasera region, this church and its contents are a reminder of the horrifying violence that took place at this site during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. Ntarama Church is where most brutal killings of the 1994 Rwandan genocide took place. The floor of the Church at Ntarama has not been completely cleaned since the massacre. There are more bones, intermingled with bits of clothing, shoes, pots, wallets, ID cards and the kinds of things. The low pew-benches are used to avoid stepping on the bones and detritus. One can easily identify parts of skeletons: vertebrae, mandibles, fibulas, and ribs.