Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tunisia's Parliament votes on new Government

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French court rules #burkini ban "clearly illegal"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Biden in Turkey, Colombia Peace Deal, Ethiopia Olympic Protest (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Earthquake in Italy, French Burkini Ruling (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The hidden secrets of Les Invalides

Read more

FOCUS

Pro-Opposition stronghold Port-Gentil feverishly awaits presidential elections

Read more

ENCORE!

Alexis Michalik: treading the boards in the footsteps of 'Edmond'

Read more

REPORTERS

Getting away with murder in DR Congo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Why does Italy refuse to see the seismic risk?'

Read more

We return to places which have been in the news - often a long time ago, sometimes recently - to see how local people are rebuilding their lives. Sunday at 9.10 pm. And you can watch it online as early as Friday. We'll be back in September with a new series.

REVISITED

REVISITED

Latest update : 2014-04-04

Kigali: A city on the fast-track

Twenty years after the genocide, Rwanda’s capital city is a monument to modernity. Whole districts of Kigali have been renovated - though sometimes at the expense of the poorest. The memory of the genocide can never be erased, but Rwandans are moving on. Our reporters visited this booming city.

Arriving at Kigali international airport you quickly get the impression that Rwanda is a rather atypical country.

You’re told by airline staff that you must leave behind or conceal all plastic bags, because the Rwandan government has outlawed them. It’s a bid to be environmentally friendly is just one example of the policies adopted by Paul Kagame’s government which are aimed at changing Rwanda, making it cleaner, safer and more efficient.

On the roads of the capital more of these rules become apparent: motorbike riders must wear helmets, cyclists must have reflective jackets, and drivers must strap in their seatbelts at all times. If not, they receive a hefty fine from one of the many police officers posted on Kigali’s streets.

Kigali in 2014 is vastly different from the scenes of devastation and carnage that most people have fixed in their minds due to the Rwandan genocide.

In the centre, new skyscrapers and office blocks have been built, many roads have been widened and paved with tarmac, and public spaces are meticulously maintained by gardeners. A lot of emphasis has been on boosting business here; the government aims to make Kigali the go-to city for regional conferences and a high tech hub. The last time I was in Rwanda in 2010, authorities had installed a costly fibre optic cable system to boost the digital economy. Now, they’re on the brink of turning on a 4G cell phone network.

There’s no denying this modernisation is impressive. But if you dig a little, you find people who feel left behind by this relentless march forwards. Nervous about speaking out and being seen to critcise the government, they will tell you off camera that not everyone is benefiting from this development. Take the residents of Batsinda on the outskirts of the capital, for example. Hundreds of families were moved to this zone 15km from the city centre when the government decided to bulldoze their homes in the name of cleaning out Kigali’s slums. Their old neighbourhood, nicknamed ‘poor Kiyovu’, has been earmarked for private commercial development. And meanwhile some of the poor people shunted to Batsinda say they had no financial choice other than to take the (partially) government funded new home. Outside the capital Kigali, you only have to drive for 15 minutes to see very poor villages still with no electricity and unpaved dirt roads.

But mentalities are changing in Rwanda.

Many people, especially among the 60 percent of the population aged 25 or under, who are hungry to move past the genocide of 1994. People still talk about the killings with tears in their eyes and tell of terrible suffering and loss. No one wants to forget. But there does seem to be a desire now to move on, and construct a more positive, united future.

By Willy BRACCIANO , Catherine NORRIS TRENT

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-07-14 China

Video: China's Cultural Revolution, 50 years on

In May 1966, as part of the Cultural Revolution, China's communist leader Mao Zedong declared war on bourgeois ideology. Through show trials, humiliation and mass murder, the Red...

Read more

2016-06-23 Uganda

Video: Ugandan city still scarred by Lord's Resistance Army atrocities

For over 20 years, the people of northern Uganda suffered at the hands of the Lord's Resistance Army as its leader Joseph Kony fought to install a government based on the Ten...

Read more

2016-06-09 Lebanon

Video: Building a future for refugee camp children in Lebanon

On 16-17 September, 1982, the Palestinian Sabra and Shatila refugee camps west of Beirut were the scene of one of the most horrific massacres Lebanon has ever seen....

Read more

2016-05-27 Turkey

Video: What remains of the Gezi movement in Turkey?

Three years ago, the city of Istanbul reached boiling point. Plans to destroy Gezi Park, one of the last green spaces in the city, and turn it into a shopping complex, triggered...

Read more

2016-05-13 Iraq

Video: Iraq’s Najaf, the holy rebel city

It is nicknamed the "Shiite Vatican City." Throughout the year, the city of Najaf in southern Iraq attracts millions of pilgrims who come to pay their respects at the tomb of...

Read more