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Title: Shared life as a people of God : an exploration of the principle of 'koinonia', and its application to the situation in Rwanda
Author: Nzacahayo, P.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, one of the many questions that Rwandan Christians asked was ‘How could such a tragedy could happen in one of the most Christianised country in Africa?’ While some of those reflecting on its predictably asked ‘why did not God intervene to prevent or stop the genocide?’, thus attempting to escape their own responsibility, the majority focussed on ethnicity as the cause of the conflict. Their argument was that conflict originated in the divide-and-rule polices carried out by both the colonial administrators and the Christian missionaries: and as a consequence, that their successors the Rwandan political leaders promoted exclusive and divisive policies based on ethnicity, religious affiliation, birthplace and gender; and that the missionaries’ successors the Rwandan Christian clergy failed to offer effective criticism or moral and spiritual guidance. There is no doubt that these factors did contribute to the Rwandan tragedy. Nevertheless ethnic, religious, regional and gender identities have no overriding significance unless they are seen in the context of their implications for the ordinary lives of Rwandans. It is when they are used as a passport to land, job, education and other opportunities that they become paradigms deciding a person’s acceptability or otherwise into the system, his/her inclusion or exclusion from it. A large part of the nation was excluded from land, from their communities and from the means of livelihood to which they were entitled. This strategy of control was the opposite of the principle of koinonia, the fellowship of God and his people on which the Christian life is meant to be based. This the Rwandan Christian community signally failed to exhibit, supporting division and exclusivity by allowing ethnicity, religion, birthplace and gender to serve as passports or barriers to land, education and employment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available