Prince Louis Rwagasore Day is celebrated annually on October 13. It is a public holiday celebrated in Burundi, located in east-central Africa. The holiday was made to continuously commemorate the life of Louis Rwagasore, a Burundian prince and politician. He served as the second prime minister of Burundi for only two weeks until he was assassinated on October 13, 1961, which is why this day is chosen to be celebrated annually. He grew up with the intention and actions of reaching independence in the fight against Belgium. He had great ability in diplomatic relationships and was good at unifying Burundi.
History of Prince Louis Rwagasore Day
Louis Rwagasore was born on January 10, 1932, in Gitega, the capital of Burundi. He is the son of Mwami (meaning chief or king) Mwambusta IV and Therese Kanyonga. Rwagasore started attending school at seven years old, entering Catholic institutions in Bukeye, Kanyinya, and Gitega. He earned a degree in political economy at the Catholic University of Leuven. He studied hard and finished his degree even though he was not financially stable and had a poor background. He returned to Urundi in December of 1956.
He had a great spirit of leadership and a background in economics and politics. To add to this, he had strong relationships with people who helped him reach African independence. He was able to meet Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, exchange letters with Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, and create and improve his political project with the help of his friend Julius Nyerere. The project failed, but he became more known than ever. He took the opportunity to create his party, the Union for National Progress and Unity Party (UPRONA), in 1958. He fought and pushed for Burundi’s independence from Belgian colonization and promoted national unity. Rwagasore was able to bring appeal and demand for UPRONA even though the Belgia administration made initiatives to dismantle UPRONA and stop his endeavors.
Rwagasore became Prime Minister when he won 80% of the votes in the 1961 elections. 16 days later, however, he was killed on October 13, 1961, in a hotel restaurant. It was only on July 1, 1962, that Burundi was granted total independence.
Prince Louis Rwagasore Day timeline
Prince Louis Rwagasore is born.
Union for National Progress and Unity Party (UPRONA) is created.
Rwagasore becomes the first elected Prime Minister.
On October 13, Rwagasore is assassinated two weeks after being elected Prime Minister.
On July 1, Burundi is granted independence.
Prince Louis Rwagasore Day FAQs
Who assassinated Louis Rwagasore?
A Greek National, Jean Kageorgis, had fired the shot — and three Burundian accomplices, namely Antoine Nahimana, Henri Ntakiyica, and Jean-Baptiste Ntakiyica.
What did Burundi used to be called?
Before independence, the country used to be called Ruanda-Urundi.
What is Burundi famous for?
Burundi is known to be “the Heart of Africa” because of its shape and location within the continent.
How to Observe Prince Louis Rwagasore Day
Study the history of the prince himself
Prince Louis Rwagasore was a pivotal figure in the independence of Burundi. Commemorate him by learning more about his life and his endeavors toward Burundi.
Be an active citizen
Show your love for your country. Be the type of person who shows love for their country by participating in its political process in any way you can.
Celebrate the day itself
Celebrating Prince Louis Rwagasore Day is a way to show pride and love for your fellow citizens and country. Recognize the true meaning of this day and what it means to the country.
5 Facts About Prince Rwagasore
He was part of an ethnic group
Prince Louis was part of the Tutsi tribe, the second largest of three main ethnic groups.
His father was a king
He is the eldest son of King Mwami Mwambusta IV.
A Belgian citizen did not kill him
A Greek citizen, Jean Kageorgis, who had lived in Burundi for many years, assassinated him.
He was confined
The Belgian administration did not like UPRONA, so they placed Rwagasore under house arrest.
He countered ethnic division
Even though he was a Tutsi, he married a Hutu.
Why Prince Louis Rwagasore Day is Important
It brings about triumph
Prince Louis Rwagasore Day is a day filled with joy and elation. Burundians feel pride when this day comes out because they know it links to the freedom they enjoy today.
Citizens can show their love for the country
This is a day for showing patriotism and love for the country. On this day, they are proud to call Burundi their home.
A day to celebrate a hero
Rwagasore is celebrated in Burundi as a hero. People acclaim his achievements in the independence of the country. A stadium and a football club are named after him.
Prince Louis Rwagasore Day dates