Three days ago I touched down at Kigali International Airport. I don’t know about you, but it’s always an emotional come home, and one I always look forward to. And that is putting it lightly.

As we approached and were flying over the former presidential home in Kanombe, I couldn’t help but think of that fateful night twenty two years ago when Habyarimana’s jet fell from the sky, and in a single instant Rwanda’s history was changed, alas, written in the blood of millions of innocent victims.

And what a coincidence that the jet came tumbling down in the presidential compound. Karma is definitive.

Revisionists will have you believe that a single act of Habyarimana’s death sparked off  the mayhem of the next 100 days. We know better. It was all pre-planned. But that is not the subject of this posting.

As we approached the runway, there was Rwanda’s new joy, our brand new Airbus 300, in all is majesty, the sign of our vibrant economy, our resolve, and the first bird of  its kind in the region.

To our detractors and enemies I say, shut the hell up and come see the incredible progress this land Land of A Thousand Hills has made. Come experience the new Rwandan spirit, feel the resolve of a forgiving People.

When you enter the terminal, you are greeted by impeccably dressed young women in our national attire ready to welcome you. I felt a chill on my spine. And on the wall behind Immigration Desks are the words that I need NOT explain : WELCOME TO REMARKABLE RWANDA.


I was here last three years ago, but I could not recognize the new entrance to the terminal, nor the new streets. This dizzying speed of progress, I want to say, is uniquely Rwandan.

On the way into town, there stands the magnificent new Rwanda Convention Centre. The kaleidoscopic configuration on the roof and the optical illusion it creates says much about where we are headed. We are on the move, and there is no stopping us now. It is not an illusion folks, we refuse to be defined by a single tragic event in our history.

The City of Kigali has an impressive, and may be overwhelming sense of purpose. Everyone seems to take pride in what is around them. There is an obvious sense of ownership.

Some say it is all too good to be true. I say, dream on. At one time we were about to be written off as a failed State. But we took matters into our own hands and have created a thing of beauty.

You realize I am not discussing the cleanliness of our streets and environment. Why does anyone expect less? I find it insulting. But unless we tell our own story others will.  Unless we craft our own home grown solutions, others in foreign capitals will attempt to dictate policy to us.

I am here another month, and bear with me as I share the miracles of this sweet land of my forefathers.

It is heavenly to be home.

About Willis Shalita

I am a writer who is very impassioned about Rwanda and its remarkable journey from the barbaric carnage of Genocide against Tutsi. I am an avid photographer. I believe the African story should be told through African lenses. Our time has come. If not now, when?
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