Photos: Gen Fred Rwigema’s Sister, Joy Laid to Rest

A collection of wreaths cover Joy Rwigema's grave during her burial.

Joy Nyiramakocyo Rwigema, sister to fallen Rwandan freedom fighter, Maj Gen Fred Rwigema was laid to rest on Friday November 29, 2019 in one of Kigali’s graveyards.

Joy was late Maj Gen Fred Rwigema’s young sister. She was found dead in her house last week and was buried over the weekend. No official communication has been made about the cause of her death. Speculation is therefore rife about circumstances that led to her death.

Gen Fred Rwigema is celebrated for his heroic contribution to the liberation struggle in Uganda and that of Rwanda that led to the overthrow of President Habyarimana’s government.

There was little reported about her death in Rwanda’s mainstream media despite the fact that her brother made a significant contribution to the guerilla struggle that brought President Paul Kagame in power.

She was born in Uganda to Anastase Kimonyo (RIP) and Gatarina Mukandirima in the 1960s.

Joy is survived by three children. She was formerly married to Mr. Kanyarukiga who grew up in Mabawe, Ngare in Tanzania’s Kagera region.

She has been living in Kiyovu a Kigali Suburb.

Joy’s late brother Fred Rwigema, on 1 October 1990, escaped with a group of Rwandese soldiers who were members of Uganda’s National Resistance Army (NRA) in an invasion of northern Rwanda. This he did while President Museveni was out of the country.

Rwigema is said to have been keen on a quick return home after many years of Habyarimana’s persecution of the Tutsi and keeping them away from their country of origin, Rwanda.

On the second day of the struggle, Rwigyema was shot in the head. There is a dispute about the exact circumstances of his death; one of the narratives being that he was killed by a stray bullet.

The other was that the popular General was killed by scheming compatriots in Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA). Many in the ranks of RPF and RPA, a political and military force that he founded, have never come to terms with his death.

President Paul Kagame, however, did not attend the burial of a fellow compatriot’s sister. Mourners described the funeral and burial as having been attended by family and friends and that most Rwandans were scared of attending or being associated with mourning the Late Gen Fred Rwigema’s sister.

May Joy’s soul rest in eternal peace.

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