PHOTOS: Kagame Inspires Youth on National Identity


As the world Friday bid farewell to Singer Juliana Kanyomozi’s son Keron Kabugo, prescription a doctor who worked on him in his last days has opened up on his final ordeal.

Dr Michael Tindikahwa of Nakasero Hospital told mourners earlier at the deceased requiem mass at All Saints Church Nakasero, hospital that Keron’s life had deteriorated beyond repair and that even with the best doctors and machines, his chances of survival were slim.

It emerged at the service that there were plans of transferring Keron’s from Nairobi to the best hospital in Hungary, but that only came too late.

But for a person, who suffered repeated heart failures, even if he was miraculously saved, he would live with a severe brain damage and he would never recognize anybody for the rest of his life.

The doctor explained that in Keron’s last two weeks, when he complained of increased chest pain and coughing and wheezing chest, he was found to have pneumonia, complicated with an acute and exacerbated asthma.

Dr Tindikahwa at Keron's Memorial Service on Friday
Dr Tindikahwa (R) at Keron’s Memorial Service on Friday

Doctor speaks out

“His chest pain was slightly unusual so we immediately put him on medication, and there was some relief. But that very evening he was readmitted with difficulty in breathing and high degree fevers.


We escalated treatment and we expected him to respond in the next 72 hours but he didn’t. His asthma had improved but the pneumonia (lung infection) was worsening.

At this point we put him on high notch medication–High notch by world standards. One would have expected him to improve in at least the next 48 hours, but his conditions only worsened.

It was here that we advised his family to transfer him to Aga khan hospital so that doctors with more expertise could take over.

In Nairobi doctors put Keron on the same medication as he was getting here. And it was concluded just like we did that he was having a very aggressive chest infection.

After 48 hours, he developed cardiac arrest. And unlike other people who have one Cardiac arrest, Keron had eight of them.

The best doctors in Nairobi were on Keron, and they fought hard. He was put on a life support machine to allow him rest so he could be sedated as the machine does the breathing for him.

Despite all these great efforts, the best machines, in the world, it wasn’t to be. He put up a courageous fight. Anybody in his shoes would not have lasted that long.”

According to Keron’s family friend, Roger Mugisha, his family was working on plans to fly him to Hungary for more sophisticated attention.

A work associate of Keron’s father Amon Lukwago had offered to have him airlifted to Europe.

“When Lucas of the HTCC in Hungary heard that Keron was hospitalized in Nairobi, he called in as he wanted to send a private plane to pick him,” Roger said.

“He was however informed that in his condition, he could not fly. So Lucas offered to fly a doctor to Nairobi. But he was still getting details of the hospital, Keron departed.”

Keron was Friday evening laid to rest at his ancestral grounds in Matugga.
President Kagame on Friday closed the seventh Itorero program bringing together more than 250 Rwandan youth living abroad, buy more about urging the youth

to be mindful of the consequences of underestimating the value of their dignity.

The function which took place at the Gabiro School of Combat in Gatsibo District saw Kagame, this in an interactive address; tell the youth to guard their identity jealously because this is what will guide them in an all their activities wherever they may be in the world.

“Identity is about your education, your upbringing and the Rwandan values you are taught. No matter where you were born or where you choose to live today, you are Rwandan,” said Kagame.

“Nothing stands in the way of staying true to yourself. No one should erase their identity and who they truly are. You must build on your identity because Rwanda belongs to you and you belong to your country. It is about your identity, knowing who you are and your values.”

Kagame interacting with one of the youth living in a foreign country
Kagame interacting with one of the youth living in a foreign country


President Kagame pointed out that all Rwandans are part of the same nation and family, and although people may have different abilities and backgrounds, no one is more Rwandan than the other.

“Identity is not an individual quality, it is a shared value. We all share an identity. Politics that does not build your identity or value our culture is bad politics. It is about appreciating the value in each other,” advised Kagame, adding, “The reason you are here and the meaning of Itorero is an education that values the identity and culture we all share. It is about building a nation that brings all of our strength together.”

President Kagame asked Rwandan youth to question what they live for and what they stand for because identity is the responsibility of knowing what one lives for and what they are willing to protect.

“Rwanda of tomorrow is yours. What will you stand for? What will you be willing to fight for and even die for? You must want to live for something. A shared identity does not mean that we are all the same. But we do not differ in wishing for the well being of every Rwandan and progress of our country.”

Observers say Kagame has been skilfully implementing programmes aimed at boosting Rwanda’s sel esteem especially at a time when the country is facing many challenges including external threats.

Rwabda youth in a dance with Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo
Rwabda youth in a dance with Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo

National identity is a person’s identity and sense of belonging to one state or to one nation, a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one’s citizenship status.

Scholar Yoonmi Lee sees national identity in psychological terms as “an awareness of difference” – “a feeling and recognition of ‘we’ and ‘they.’

The national identity of most citizens of a state or nation tends to strengthen when the country or nation is threatened militarily, economically or culturally.

A sense of belonging to a nation may strengthen when an external threat becomes clearer, causing individuals to seek to unite with fellow-countrymen for mutual protection against the common threat.

An example is the development of Taiwanese identity (versus Chinese identity), which strengthened after the Republic of China (ROC) became known internationally as “Taiwan” after losing its UN Seat, and particularly starting in the late 1990s when it became clear that “China” (People’s Republic of China) threatens Taiwan militarily and to “conquer and unite” Taiwan, especially in the face of increased popular support for Taiwan independence and tries to affect Taiwan’s politics through “missile tests” and media rhetoric.

Although the official country name is “Republic of China” and its residents have been taught that their country is “China” and self-references in the educational system, text textbooks, and school public announcements refer to students as “we Chinese…” in the 1980s and 1990s, growing numbers of adults in the 2000s started identifying themselves as “Taiwanese” in the face of hostile Chinese stance and military threat in the 2000s and the Pan-Green Coalition’s promotion of Taiwanese identity.

Foreign countries


Some of the youth who participated in the Itorero session
Some of the youth who participated in the Itorero session

President Kagame told the Rwandan youth to take good care of themselves where they live in the respective countries around the world, and always endeavour to challenge themselves to be better than their best.

“By always challenging yourselves to be better people, you will be more useful to yourselves, your families and your country. Always think that you can be better. You can do it and you deserve it. But if it starts with you, it’s even much better,” said Kagame.

“If you have the tools in your hands and if you want to improve your life, why would you wait another moment to do it?” Never expect things to come easy, because the chances are slim, and if it happens, it never lasts.”

During the question and answer session, President Kagame told the youth that what drives him to continue striving for development is mainly the lack of development in Rwanda and the urge to bring development. President Kagame also discussed integration, governance and other issues raised by the youth.

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