Kigali, 2 February 2022 (TDI): Rwanda celebrates National Heroes Day in commemoration of those who sacrificed themselves for the country. February 1st is an official holiday for the public as well as the private sector in Rwanda, each year.

On this day, Rwanda pays homage to the people who demonstrated and safeguarded the highest values of sacrifice and patriotism for the well-being of the citizens and the country.

Background of National Heroes Day

Rwanda has had a turbulent and violent contemporary history. Hence it honors those who have made sacrifices for the betterment of the nation by commemorating their efforts.

However, Rwanda has a unique way of celebrating the heroes. There are three different categories to celebrate the national heroes of the Central African country. They are Imanzi, Imena, and Ingenzi.

In Rwanda, Imanzi is the ultimate hero who exemplified unparalleled accomplishments illustrated by outstanding importance, supreme sacrifice, and example.

The Imanzi are the unknown soldiers who died during the liberation battle as well as those who might shed blood on a battlefield, in the future to defend the country’s sovereignty.

Major General Fred Rwigema is assigned this category because of his efforts. He perished on the frontline after the launch of the armed liberation struggle of Rwanda in October 1990.

The next category is the Imena category. It comprises of heroes known for their remarkable feats for the country characterized by high importance, sacrifice, and example.

Michel Rwagasana (special adviser to late King Rudahigwa), King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre, and Agathe Uwilingiyimana belong to this category.

Agathe Uwilingiyimana is the female Prime Minister of the country who was killed by the genocidal regime’s forces within hours of the commencement of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The third category is the Ingenzi category and includes icons who are still alive but known for their exemplary ideas or notable accomplishments illustrated by sacrifice, great importance, and high example.

A list of the Ingenzi heroes is not published, unlike the other categories. Sessions are organized to remember and honor the Rwandan heroes across all villages and in the media.