By Aristide Rwigara
Today is my Dad, Assinapol Rwigara’s birthday. He would have turned 58 years old, had he not been assassinated earlier this year by cowards with undeserved power. I want to talk about his life and the kind of man that he was, but my thoughts keep going back to that night of February 4, 2015 when a small army was deployed to savagely murder an innocent and defenseless man.
However, the more I think about his assassination, the clearer it becomes that the extraordinary strength that he displayed throughout his whole life is perfectly reflected in his death.
If an otherwise innocent man makes you feel so insecure that you need to kill him, that man must be great indeed!
Strength was one of my father’s defining characteristics. I never saw him show discouragement in the face of the interminable adversities that he encountered. He told me to always give the best fight that I could, no matter how great the odds were against me. He warned me that losing hope would only serve to make a problem worse. It was impossible not to pay attention to his advice, as I saw the fruits that it bore in his own life.
He possessed an indomitable spirit, and never parted from his cheerful optimism, no matter how severe a trial was. Because of that, we were shielded from the pressure that he was often under, and as children we only knew the privileges that his work afforded us. As an adult, I derived from his attitude that positivity is a key ingredient for success.
I saw my father as the absolute model of manhood, and an obvious reference for success. So when I asked him once how one achieved success in life, I listened carefully to his answer.
He told me that you had to apply yourself with great focus on every task, and also to always put God first. I will not elaborate on the God part, but my mind is now conjuring up images of my dad totally absorbed in the process of assembling a chair, or figuring out the functioning of an electronic device, and many other activities that no matter how small they were, would draw all of his mental resources once he engaged in them.
I saw that his attitude towards work was not solely exercised in business, but carried over in every aspect of his life.
There is not enough space here to paint a complete picture of my Dad, and truly I have only scratched the surface. But as I think about the great lessons he imparted to me and to others, I realize that even if his life was brutally cut short, his impact on this world will be felt for a very long time. Thank you for leading by example, and happy birthday Papa!