- Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide
Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide


What I Know About Rwanda

By Frances on January 22, 2013


  1. Unlike in many contemporary African countries, Rwanda actually has a single language shared by all three “ethnic” groups (Hutu, Tutsi and Twa). There is also a concept of Rwandan collective identity that seems to have predated the current government/era; shared traditions, etc. That notion of Rwandanness has been politicized under the current government, symbolizing relative “peace” for some, and silencing for others.
  1. The “1994 genocide” was not an unforeseeable or spontaneous killing spree. More well-off Tutsi families, especially those who had some political clout, began leaving the country back around the time of independence due to targeted bouts of violence. Struggles/disputes between the genocidal regime and the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front), at least partly concerning letting departed families back into the country, were ongoing for years – the RPF was not an army/organization that just swooped in at the last minute to save the day. There was a massive amount of both anti-Tutsi and anti-RPF (because these are very different!) writing and cartoon depiction emerging in the media prior to the genocide itself. At least one small-scale massacre similar to those occurring during the 100 days of genocide in 1994 took place a year earlier, in 1993; in a recent commemoration ceremony this massacre was referred to as a “trial run” for the mass killings that would take place in the summer of 1994.
  1. Rwanda is a resource poor, landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa that does not have a lot of natural resources to sustain its comparatively large population. This poses geopolitical challenges for the country; a large portion of the current national income is actually derived from international aid money, and Rwandan relationships with surrounding countries are controversial at best. In a recent political/economic move, the country has begun transitioning from French to English as its second national language.

[I know these things from 218, personal research, visiting and family.]

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