Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Arsenal defender David Luiz visits Rwanda during the international break

Posted on 14 October 2019 by Tusdiq Din

Arsenal defender David Luiz visited Rwanda on a two day trip during the international break. The Brazilian experienced Rwanda’s hospitality, learned about the country’s rich culture and natural wonders and how Rwandans have united to drive the country forward as a leading African nation.

Accompanied by his mother Regina Celia Marinho and his fiancé Bruna Loureiro, the trio visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial to pay their respects to the victims of the 1994 genocide which saw atrocities committed by the Hutu on the Tutsi. While on the visit, they learned about what happened and about the causes of the genocide and how Rwandans have since built a new nation on a foundation of dignity and togetherness.


David Luiz at Singita, Volcanoes National Park
David Luiz at Rwanda’s Singita, Volcanoes National Park (ArsenalFC)

The Arsenal number 23 saw how the country has united to move forward and develop into a leading reformer in Africa. While at the Memorial, David and his family laid a wreath to honour the victims and signed the book of remembrance. 

“It has been incredible to learn about this wonderful country and experience the welcoming spirit of the Rwandan people. I came with the curiosity to learn about the country, considering what it went through 25 years ago. I have to say I was inspired by how fast it has moved forward and how it has become a progressive, fast-growing nation with so many amazing things to see and do,” said Luiz.

Luiz is the first Arsenal current first team player to visit Rwanda since the partnership between the Rwanda Development Board and the club launched last season. He follows in the footsteps of Arsenal first team legends Tony Adams and Lauren who previously participated in the Kwita Izina Gorilla naming ceremony – a prestigious celebration of Rwandan conservation and culture.

As part of Arsenal’s ground-breaking partnership with Visit Rwanda, Luiz is experienced the country’s culture, diversity and hospitality with his family. After visiting the Kigali genocide memorial and taking part in the conservation exercise at Volcanoes National Park in Northern Rwanda, they visited the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat as well as attending a local football match and a meet and greet with young Rwandan players and fans in Kigali. 


David Luiz and his family enjoyed their trip to Rwanda
David Luiz and his family enjoyed their trip to Rwanda (Arsenal FC)


“My family and I are so thankful for the opportunity to come here and see the passion of football fans, experience Rwanda’s culture and witness breath-taking scenery. From trekking to see mountain gorillas to watching local football and mixing with fans of all ages, it has been a humbling and wonderful experience. We can’t wait to come back and see even more of this beautiful country. I’m going to recommend all my friends to spend their holidays in Rwanda,” continued Luiz.

This visit provided another opportunity to build on the work already carried out by Arsenal, the Rwandan Football Federation and the national Ministry of Sports and Culture to develop and nurture local football talent at grassroots level. The visit comes after a highly successful first year of Visit Rwanda’s partnership with Arsenal as the club’s inaugural shirt sleeve sponsor and official tourism partner. In just twelve months, the partnership has helped Rwanda become a must-see holiday destination for football fans and tourists around the world.

Born in Diadema, São Paulo, Luiz started his career with Brazilian side Vitória before moving to Europe to sign for Portuguese giants Benfica. He went on to play for Chelsea and Paris St Germain before joining Arsenal in the summer of 2019. In total he has played 475 club games scoring 33 goals, the most recent being the winner in last Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Bournemouth. Luiz has also been capped fifty seven times by the Brazil national team.


David Luiz attended a match in Kigali, Rwanda during his trip
David Luiz attended a match in Kigali, Rwanda during his trip (Arsenal FC)