Rwanda, located in eastern Africa, won its independence from Belgium on July 1, 1962. Since then this day has been observed as its Independence Day in the nation.
The Independence Day is a national holiday in Rwanda. This year Rwanda will celebrate the golden jubilee of its independence as it completes 50 years of its independence on July 1st. While there are many activities planned to mark this special day, Rwanda will be hosting programs of national awareness including the international conference with the theme, Governance and Democracy: an African Perspective, and a health outreach program for poor and destitute, which is being conducted by the Rwanda Defence Forces.
3. Why is the Independence Day Significant?
Rwanda saw the first European presence, when German Count Von Goetzen visited the country in 1894. However, it was not until 1897 that Germans began establishing their control over Rwanda, and the Kingdom of Burundi to the South. The colony later came to be known as Ruanda-Urundi.
For many years the Germans ruled the country indirectly through the Tutsi King (Tutsi was the elite class consisting mostly of aristocracy). The other major ethnic group was Hutu, who were the working class, primarily farmers.
Like other imperial powers first the Germans, and then the Belgians, who occupied the region around 1916, stirred the ethnic and social differences between the two groups. These differences eventually triggered the ethnic violence in 1959, which led to ouster of Tutsi monarchy in what is present-day Rwanda.
In 1961, in a referendum supervised by the United Nation, Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming majority. The party came to form an interim government, and was granted internal autonomy in January 1962.
Rwanda soon won its complete independence on July 1, 1962 through UN resolution that ended the trusteeship of Belgium (at the end of World War II Ruanda-Urundi had become a United Nation trust territory under Belgian administrative authority at the end of Second World War).
4.What does the national flag represent?
The present flag of Rwanda, which was adopted in 2001, replaces the flag that was adopted in 1961 just before its independence in 1962. The old flag was replaced because of its association with the genocide of 1994.
The new flag comprises of three horizontal bands: topmost is blue, middle is yellow, and lowermost is green. While green and yellow are of equal width, the blue strip is of double size of those two. On top right corner is the sun emitting 24 rays. It is symbolic of unity, new hope and light that clears ignorance and spreads enlightenment.
The blue strip signifies contentment and peace, the yellow symbolizes economic growth, and the green denotes prosperity and progress as the country moves forward.
5.Who wrote the national anthem of Rwanda?
The national anthem of Rwanda, ‘Rwanda Nziza', which was adopted in 2001, replaced Rwanda Rwacu, the earlier national anthem which was adopted in 1962. The lyrics of present anthem have been written by Faustin Murigo, and its music was composed by Jean-Bosco Hashakaiman.