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Title: Churches and ethnic ideology in the Rwandan crises (1900-1994)
Author: Gatwa, Tharcisse
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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It has been assumed that the 1994 Rwandan genocide and massacres during which more than a million of human beings were killed resulted from the "Hutu Power" ideology of the Habyarimana regime (1973-1994). The perspective of this thesis rests on new lines of reasoning looking at the root causes of that ideology from two angles. Firstly, from 1880's Rwanda was subjected to external influences which constructed a meta-narrative founded on the Hamite myth defending the "Batutsi supremacy". Secondly, the local elite, comprising the traditional Batutsi nobility, then the educated and the post-independence Bahutu ethno-politicians assimilated these constructs. In fact, the group of people, the Banyarwanda, which the explorers, then the missionaries encountered, were distributed in three social categories: the Bahutu, Batutsi and Batwa. These people had been living relatively peacefully together sharing many common factors including: cultural unity, language, religion, major social organisations like the clan and family habits such as intermarriages. Some lineages were, however, attempting to create their own identity. Out of that encounter between the West and Rwandan society, the image of Rwanda which was constantly projected was of a land dominated by a "race" of "Hamites of Caucasian origin who arrive in Rwanda from Ethiopia or Egypt". The 'Batutsi' were chosen by the new rulers, colonialists and the missionaries to promote "a Civilisation founded on Christianity". The other groups, the Bahutu and Batwa constituted the mass of "roturiers" relegated to a status of a second category citizens. Discriminatory policies were set up in cultural and political practices to reinforce the so-called differences in schools, evangelism and public sphere. An ethnic ideology, this thesis argues, emerged out of that meta-narrative.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available