The Untold Story of Present Day Rwanda

Rwanda (12)

Where is Rwanda located?

Rwanda is a country located in central Africa, and it is the smallest country in mainland Africa. It is located few degrees in the equator and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda is in the Africa great lakes and is highly elevated. Rwanda experiences subtropical climate, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons annually.

Communities found in Rwanda and their cultural practices

In Rwanda, the largest ethnic group is Hutus, which makes up around 80%, followed by Tutsi with 18%, Twa being the last with 2% of the population. Christianity is the largest religion in Rwanda, and Statistics showed that 26% of Rwanda’s population are Christians.

Rwandans had their cultural practices, which they followed during there day to day activity. During the payment of a dowry woman’s value was paid in cows, whereby the first calf of that cow was given to the young couple as a sign of blessings from their parents. When a child was born, he/she was kept indoors for eight days together with the mother. When the days are over, the child was introduced to the community and also given a name.

A girl who bears a child when she was not married, she was once punished for exile or death. Those who were punished to death were taken to an island and drowned in Lake Kivu. This punishment was meant to scare girls from having premarital sex.

Who colonized Rwanda?

Rwanda is a country that has a brief history of colonization. In 1884, Germany colonized Rwanda, and it became part of German East Africa. The Germans ruled indirectly through the political structure created by the King. The Germans also conducted military operations against Hutu chiefs in the North that had not come under the rule of the King.

Belgium started controlling Rwanda after the first World War. After the war, on August 23, 1923, the League of Nations mandated Rwanda under Belgian supervision. During this supervision, the power of the king was limited. They modified the system and eliminated the paying of tributes, which was started by the Germans.

In 1962, Rwanda became independent with Gregorian Kayibanda as the first president, the new constitution was ratified and soon in 1963, the Tutsi invaded Rwanda. Still, they were repelled. This lead to the death of 12000 Tutsi people who were killed by Hutu while countless of Tutsi people fled the country.

In the year 1994, the conflict arises where 9000 rebel Tutsi invaded Rwanda from their neighboring Uganda. This led to the killings of people based on their ethnicity, religion, and political beliefs.  The Genocide saw neighbors and friends turn against each other. During this time, love turned to hate, and 800000 people were killed in 100 days.

 Life after Genocide

In 1994 many Rwandans lost their lives against brutal killings between Hutu and Tutsi people. Survivors were physically and mentally damaged. Families were separated, and their homes were destroyed. World vision group, which offers a life-giving emergency and helping displaced people to settle there in Rwanda during that Era, also started reconciliation and peacebuilding programs in which all staffs were trained as agents of peace and healing. The peacebuilding programs consisted of three things grief, dealing with emotions, and forgiveness. This helps Rwandans in the healing process through it took years to change their hearts, in case after case — it worked out.

Development in Rwanda

Despite all the challenges in Rwanda, its economic growth success has been driven by the country’s services sectors and public investments, funded by foreign governments. Now Rwanda has a sound road system of approximately 14,900 kilometers of roads. The primary roads are well maintained as well. World Bank is providing financing for road rehabilitation and new construction in certain parts of Rwanda.

However, according to Professor Longman, what the world sees is a thriving country, but deep down, only the well-connected individuals benefit in the quest for justice and restoration. But he does admit that the current Government of Rwanda has achieved much economic development and has been able to fight corruption. The main challenge is that the leadership is more of a top-down approach; ideas come from the top as the RPF leaders hold on to the throne. If they allowed some form of democracy, they would scale to higher heights in terms of development and restoration.

Their efforts to restore and grow can’t be ignored. War-torn countries, such as South Sudan, where Troops engage the civilians in war, should learn that war brings no good. They can also learn to restore themselves after such disasters.