Rwanda, one heart, one body, one future
One mind, later divided,
Two minds, later fallen,
Back to one and whole again!
We are searching through for beauty in ashes,
Reaching for light from darkness
Hoping for love in hate,
Recovering our country from a colony
Destroying the very definitions that once constrained us
We… from Rwanda to none else but Rwanda!
This is a new age, we turn a new page
It is a new war waged against our own enemy
The sage in us salvages our humanity
This raging foe, this cage;
Division, difference, distaste
The ruin of our land, oh! Our pride
See, this is a new age; indeed we turn a new page
A new chapter for a renewed nation
New paths for yes, a new kind of motion
New governance for a new direction
This… is a new age!
Do I hope to look back over my shoulder?
And see a part of me torn to pieces
Do I dare to think of the pain? Alas!
To see those million children, women and men
Do I want to ask if I could have saved them?
Thinking ‘what was did not have to be’?
Yet ill-fate had to have its way, and I could only pray…
Do I want to face that there—down over there, lies piles of gold?
In the form of mortal souls, dried bones and torn clothes
Do I think it right to look back over my shoulder?
Is it right that I remember?
If nothing else, give in my heart what my hands could not offer?
If nothing else, should I not raise them to that dignified place?
Call me skeptical but is it not necessary, if not obligatory?
That I light this candle, turn my mind’s eye,
Grieve with those who grieve; hope with those who hope?
Commemoration… is it not my responsibility?
This is a new day, you and I, empowered.
Youth, adult, toddler alike
We all ought to know our worth.
This is the time to reach out
Knowing we can, now more than ever;
Knowing what was hidden has yet been uncovered,
Knowing we still have way to go;
But too, knowing that the past is not where we want to be
It only is where we will never be, no, not again!
Empowerment is like an engine;
Start it, and it converts fuel to motion
Let the fuel be us, Rwanda.
Let us ignite an undying fire!
For our own, yes I say our own self-reliant tomorrow;
The embodiment of our Hope…faith!
Ours is the energy, promise, and power
To steer the wheel and turn the tables
Not to the attractive west nor to the Far East,
But rather, steady back here within
Back home where we can sit and dine
At peace as brother, sister, father, mother
One people, reconciled; one vision
Rwandan youth, ours is the calling…
Twenty years are but a passing wind
Days and nights of probing, pushing; penetrating stone walls
Busiest of all yet most meaningful and indeed, most prosperous of all
Yet April (Mata) is here again for our treasured milk this time and not each other’s blood
Let us commemorate the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Author: Natasha Daphine Muhoza, current student at Eastern University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; attended school both in Uganda and Rwanda, graduating from Riviera High School, class of 2011. She is currently pursuing a bachelor of arts in Economic Development.