Rwanda has launched its first ever cricket stadium as part of its post-genocide reconciliation process, the Commonwealth Secretariat has reported
Rwanda has launched its first ever cricket stadium as part of its post-genocide reconciliation process, the Commonwealth Secretariat has reported.
The launch took place on October 28, 2017 during a four day visit to Rwanda by the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
The Gahanga Cricket Stadium, built in close proximity to one of the 1994 genocide killing fields, is expected to give a boost to the sport, as previously the national team’s matches were played in Uganda.
Following six years of planning and construction from the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, the grounds were officially opened by President Kagame and Alby Shale, whose father Christopher established the foundation.
The Commonwealth Secretariat promotes the use of sport internationally through its Sport for Peace and Development programme, which aims to help member countries develop policies and frameworks connecting sport to areas such as education, health, gender equality and social cohesion.
Technical assistance for national policy development is offered, along with strategies to maximise sport’s contribution to national development.
A match between teams led by former England captain Michael Vaughan and South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs officially celebrated the stadium’s launch in front of a large crowd of Rwandan spectators and international dignitaries.
President Kagame thanked the UK and Commonwealth Secretariat for lending their support to the project, as well as the efforts of Christopher Shale.
Calling the new national cricket stadium a “centre for peace”, the Secretary-General said: “It was truly inspirational that Rwanda has welcomed the sport of cricket; a team game that will now be played by men, women, boys and girls in the name of peace.
“You have people involved, who were either directly or indirectly affected by the genocide, coming together and playing in the same teams. It is a wonderful, emblematic moment, because it just demonstrates how sport can bring divided peoples together and really make a difference.”