To mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and to coincide with the UN International Day of Peace on 21 September, we are pleased to present The Amahoro Generation: The youth of Rwanda talk peace.
The exhibition, by award-winning photojournalist Carol Allen-Storey, documents the stories of young people born amid the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, and their hopes for ‘amahoro’ – peace. It is an ideal rooted in the wisdom that without peace, there is no future. “Peace unifies,” says Angelique, aged 21 from Gatumba. “Without peace, people remain divided.”
Twenty years ago, Rwanda witnessed 100 days of mass killings, rape and other atrocities. Around one million people were slaughtered during the violence: a culmination of longstanding ethnic tensions between the minority Tutsi and majority Hutu peoples. Two decades on, survivors and perpetrators are still healing from the trauma left by the genocide.
But young people in Rwanda today speak less of the bloodshed and hatred of the past, and more of their hopes and dreams for the future – from completing their education, to even becoming the next president of Rwanda!
“We, the youth, must focus on hope and development”, says Jeanne, the daughter of a survivor.
The genocide has left deep scars in Rwandan society, which are being passed down to the younger generations. To address this, International Alert runs peace clubs in communities and schools to bring together all those affected by the genocide to share their experiences and feelings and, in doing so, start to rebuild their lives.
Dan Smith, Secretary General of International Alert, says: “I hope the people seeing this exhibition will get a sense of how important young people are for peace and reconciliation. They can raise their voices against war and become a new generation of future leaders.”
Twenty years on, this exhibition looks at how young Rwandans are learning to live with the legacy of the genocide, as they prepare to enter adult life determined to build a better future.
The exhibition will ask South Bank the public to share what ‘amahoro’ means to them by using the hashtag #talkingpeace
The Amahoro Generation is part of Talking Peace Festival, a series of events hosted by International Alert to celebrate peace and the power of words in resolving conflicts. Find out more at: www.talkingpeacefestival.co.uk.
“I was struck by the collective view of these young people that they must ensure there is never another genocide – and to do so, learn to forgive and fuel their energy into building a united and prosperous country,” says photographer Carol Allen-Storey.