08/04/2017 13:44 SAST | Updated 08/04/2017 13:51 SAST

South Africa Must Learn From The Events Of The Rwandan Genocide

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame greets Pope Francis during a private meeting at the Vatican.

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) has called on South Africans to commemorate the 23rd Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide with a renewed commitment to peaceful political engagement.

The 1994 Rwanda genocide left thousands dead and many others in exile in neighbouring countries. In three months - from April to July 1994 - nearly a million Tutsis and sympathetic Hutus were massacred. Systematic rape was also used as a tool of genocide by the state.

"We must honour the memory of those who died and the survivors of these atrocities by learning from these events. We must be mindful of not walking the same path. We must also learn from the challenges faced by such a nation when dealing with this legacy, " said CSVR in a statement.

"The experience of Rwanda reverberates with South Africans because of the commonalities in the challenges faced in reconstructing a country after mass violations, and the emergence of peace in the same historic year of 1994."