Biography of Agathe Uwilingiyimana,Origin,Education,Achievements,Family,Death


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of Agathe UwilingiyimanaSometimes known as Madame Agathe, AgatheUwilingiyimana was a
Rwandan politician who served as prime minister of Rwandafrom 18th July 1993 till her death
on 7th April, 1994 at the startof the Rwandan genocide.  She was Rwanda’s fourth prime
minister in 1993,during President Juvenal Habyarimana`s regime, and she has been the
only femaleprime minister of her country. Early Life and EducationAgathe Uwilingiyimana was
born on the 23rd of May,1953 in the village of Nyaruhengeri in the southern Rwandan province
of Butare.She was a member of the Hutu ethnicity that makesup the majority of people in Rwanda.
Agathe attended Notre Dame des CîteauxSecondary School and got a certificate to teach Humanities
in 1973.  She continued with her studies in mathematics andchemistry afterward. Early
CareerMadame Agathe became a school teacher in Butare in1976. By 1983, she was teaching
chemistry at the National University of Rwandain Butare. She received her bachelor’s degree
in1985. She wasamong the first women of her ethnic groupwho were criticized for promoting
the study of mathematics and science amongfemale students. Madam Agathe was among the first
women to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the NationalUniversity of Rwanda in 1985. Political
CareerIn 1986, Agathe Uwilingiyimana created acooperative society among the staff of the
Butare academic school where sheworked.  Her creation of this group and the role she playedin
its operation made her known by the authorities at the capital, who wantedto appoint decision
makers from the southern part of the country.  In 1989, shebecame a director in the Ministry
of Commerce.Madame Agathe joined the Republican-DemocraticMovement (MDR) in 1992, and was appointed Minister
of Education.  She used her office to stop the academic ethnicquota system, this made
the ministry of education to only award public schoolscholarships and admission by open merit
ranking. Her decision to end the academic ethnic quotasystem was made during the Rwandan
Civil War of 1990 to 1994, and this displeasedthose who the quota system had favoured. Political
StrugglesOn 17th July 1993, Agathe Uwilingiyimanabecame prime minister of Rwanda. Her nomination as
prime minister led to agreat division within her political party. The Rwandan government
under President Habyarimanaand Agathe Uwilingiyimana had a difficult task of successfully coming
to termswith the rebellious Rwandan’s Patriotic Front (RPF).  The RPF was a guerilla movement
which had manymembers from the Tutsi tribe. An agreement between the president, fiveopposition
parties, and the RPF, was finally reached on 4th of August,1993.  Theagreement was
the acceptance of the position of the presidency by one party andthe position of the prime
minister by another political party. President Habyarimana officially dismissed AgatheUwilingiyimana
as prime minister on the same day, just eighteen days after herappointment to the office. Uwilingiyimana
stayed in the office as an actingprime minister even after she was abandoned by her own political
party andPresident Habyrimana’s ruling party attacking her.On 6th April 1994, a plane
transportingPresident Habyarimana of Rwanda and President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi
wasshot down.  Followingthe assassination of both presidents, Agathe Uwilingiyimana
addressed theRwandan people through a radio announcement to remain calm. She becameRwanda’s
constitutional Head of State. Not too long after this, she wasassassinated alongside
her husband in their home. Agathe and her husbandsurrendered themselves to save their
children who stayed hidden. The childrenescaped and eventually took refuge outside the country.The
deaths of the President and the prime ministerled to the continuation of a violent tribal conflict
that Agathe and hercolleagues had tried to stop. Impacts and LegacyIn 1995, Agathe Uwilingiyimana
was declared anational heroine. She is respected as one of the first advocates of women’srights
and education in Rwanda. She stood, and still stands, as a role model for femalepoliticians
in Africa. Madame Agathe was one of the founding members of theForum for African Women Educationalists.
As a memorial to the late Rwandan prime minister,the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE)
created The AgatheInnovative Award Competition. The award funds educational and income-generatingprojects
which are meant to improve the lives of African girls.Agathe Uwilingiyimana’s efforts towards
endingethnic crises and biases are not forgotten by Rwandans too. During her tenure as education
minister, sheawarded scholarships through genuine open merit rankings, as the Ministry
ofEducation abolished the ethnic academic quota system under her administration. Personal
LifeAgathe Uwilingiyimana married Ignace Barahira whowas her classmate in school. While she
taught Chemistry, her husband was aworker at the university laboratory. She is a mother
of five children ― four boys, and a girl. Did you know?·       Agathe Uwilingiyimana
was nicknamed‘Urugwiro’ meaning ‘pleasant welcome’ or ‘hospitality’ by her colleagues
at the educationministry where she worked. She wasfondly called this name because of
how she would greet her colleagues with acheery ‘Morning girls,’ even if they were all
old enough to be parents. ·       Madame Agathe usually preferred tostay at home and
enjoy some quality time with her children and family. Whenevershe went out, she was
always with her family.·       Agathe Uwilingiyimana’s favouritemeal was Igitoke
and Isombe (boiled green banana and pounded cassava leaves).·       She was the
second female tobecome prime minister in Africa. What’syour take on Madame Agatheas an African leader?
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