FIVB President visits memorial Museum of Genocide in Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda, December 6, 2013 - A day after the passing of South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre to lay a wreath upon the burials of the victims of the 1994 genocide.
President Graça was accompanied at the memorial by FIVB first vice president Cristobal Marte Hoffiz. The men are in Kigali to attend the CAVB Congress, which begins Saturday.
While at the memorial, guides explained Rwanda's politically violent past and the country's development since the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
As much as 20 percent of the country's total population - 500,000 to one million - are estimated to have died in the genocidal mass slaughter of ethnic Tutsi's by Hutu's. Among those included volleyball players, coaches and administrators.
With a new government in place after genocide, a wind of change has blown across the country’s playing fields. The government has put a strong emphasis on sports, including volleyball, as they believed the roll they could play in rebuilding the country. Volleyball helped contribute to reconciliation and the cultivation of a feeling of national unity, as sports unified the people.
Volleyball has since been assigned an important role in primary school education and village life. lt is hoped that this will help young people traumatized by the events of 1994 once again find enjoyment in their lives and promote friendship amongst children from primary school and village level. The country also hosts an annual volleyball competition to celebrate the memorial of the genocide.
In the 19 years since the disaster, Rwandan U19 and U21 volleyball teams have raised in the ranks of the sporting world to participate on the level of African Championship and the World Championships. Nearly 80% of those players were born during and after the Genocide.