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The historical significance of this soccer pitch transcends sports

The historical significance of this soccer pitch transcends sports

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Kaniga Sector, Gicumbi District. I am on a hill popularly known as Mulindi w’Intwari. This is where the National Liberation Museum Park is located.

Mulindi hill is breathtaking. The same can be said about the neighboring Manyagiro, Mukono, Miyove and the rest of the surrounding elevations. One beautiful hill surrounded by its lookalikes can sum up the description of the entire land of 1,000 hills pretty accurately.

The museum is under renovations. Construction of the new state-of-the-art exhibition facility is in full swing. Upon completion, the story of Rwanda’s liberation struggle will be told in a more sophisticated way.

I am indulging in a leisure walk on the park’s soccer pitch. It is this field that gave birth to Rwanda’s top tier league’s 19-time champions, APR Football Club. However, the historical significance of this pitch goes beyond sports.

It is on this turf where the architect of the liberation struggle and the current President of Rwanda wore the rank of Major General in the early 1990s, officially accepting a badge of leadership that placed enormous responsibilities on his shoulders.

In addition, the six hundred RPA soldiers, deployed at the Conseil National de Développement (CND) in 1993, were assembled and briefed here before departure to Kigali. The troops were tasked to protect RPF’s politicians stationed at the CND after the ceasefire observed to give dialogue a chance.

When Abakombozi FC traveled to Mulindi for a showdown against Inkotanyi, the grass I am strolling on served a bigger purpose of setting the stage for coalition and, ultimately, the formation of a unified nation. The role of sports in fostering unity is undeniable.

One step at a time, I keep walking. As the gentle wind blows past the surrounding trees, their branches sway back and forth. One step at a time, I keep walking back and forth between two goal posts.

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