Every 13 October is Prince Rwagasore Day in Burundi, which is the anniversary of the tragic assassination of independence leader Prince Louis Rwagasore that occurred in 1961.
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Born of royal Tutsi blood in a Burundi under the rule of Belgium, Louis Rwagasore later moved to Belgium to study for a short time in 1958. That same year he established a pro-independence movement in Burundi called the “Union for National Progress”.
Rwagasore saw how the Belgian colonialists were using the ethnic tensions between Tutsi and Hutu in Burundi to divide them so as to more easily rule the colony. Therefore, he went so far as to marry a woman of Hutu blood to help overcome this divide.
In September of 1961, Rwagasore’s party won the election and he himself became prime minister. But only about a month later, on 13 October, 1961, he was assassinated, apparently by those opposing Burundi’s bid for independence.
Today, the people of Burundi remember the life and death of a dear national hero every year on Prince Rwagasore Day.