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Rwandan culture

Kantarama Peace & Mukamana Marie Joie

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Kantarama Peace’s daughter, Mukamana Marie Joie, is confused about marriage. She asks her mother, a member of a mother’s union who has helped many girls and given them advice, numerous questions. Kantarama Peace emphasizes never to give up when it comes to love, because as long as its for love, anyone can achieve success.

Nyirahabimana Consolee & Mukeshimana Godelive

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Nyirahabimana Consolee tells Mukeshimana Godelive stories about the way young girls acted before she was born, drawing on her own life and the stories her aunts told her. They include everything from weaving, the to difficulties with accepting advice, dealing with mothers-in-law, giving birth, changing traditions about co-wives, and much more.

"I can’t confirm that all the poor take a wrong way which will cause them more pain because of poverty. So even the poor can keep their dignities in their poverty and finally get their own families." Nyirahabimana Consolee

Nsengimana Jean Paul & Hitimana Jean de Dieu

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Nsengimana Jean Paul has changed his religion as an older man, but recalls the old prayers and rituals from when he was younger. He explains to Hitimana Jean de Dieu about witch doctors, night dancers, and how to properly please the gods for good fortune, and describes his encounters with devils that made him turn to the gospel.

"You pray to the God you know, you understand, and in good order. It is clear that if you ask you will receive, if you knock the door they will open for you, if you look for you will get." Nsengimana Jean Paul

Kaberuka Anatole & Mulima Ngautabana Yves

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It is well known in Rwanda that ethnic tribes coexisted peacefully before the genocide. Kaberuka Anatole explains to his grandson Mulima Nyautabana Yves about how the colonial regime worked to turn tribes against one another, cultivating hatred and jealousy in order to maintain control and exploit Rwanda. In a history tale that begins before Belgian rule, Kaberuka Anatole shows how the colonial regime treated the country like playing a game of cards.

Kabandana Louis & Nkusi Faustin

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Kabandana Louis and Nkusi Faustin have different reasons to explain why elders and youths no longer share stories, histories, and proverbs. Yet they also discover both sides might be much more willing to talk than they thought. They discuss the growing equality for women and how important it is to remember the past even if new ways might be better. Kabandana Louis talks of female soldiers, folklore fears, and the impact technology has on Rwandese oral culture.

Mujawiyera Josephine & Habineza Fidei

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Habineza Fidei seeks the advice of his adoptive mother about how to plan a family, negotiate difficult situations with his new wife, and preserve important traditions in a changing world. Mujawiyera Josephine remembers being the most beloved of her father's children, and describes the neglect her siblings suffered as the family increased in size. She counsels her son only to have as many children as he can love fully and support financially.

Uwayezu Dieu Domme & Gota Issa

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Gota Issa asks his father, Uwayezu Dieu Domme, to explain the difference between how Rwandese lived in the past and how they live today. Uwayezu Dieu Domme takes this opportunity to describe how life was in Rwanda before ethnicities were brought by the white people. This was a time when Rwandese respected and helped each other, regardless of their background. Uwayezu Dieu Domme hopes that the Rwandese today can learn from the culture of their ancestors and start to respect each other once again. He notes that “the most important battle is to know history.”

Mukamudenge Angela & Ndarihoranye Gaston

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Mukamudenge Angela describes her parents' lifestyle to her son: how they farmed, how they told stories, and how that life has changed in her son's lifetime. Her stories illustrate a simpler life; her parents relied on their hands rather than books to do their work, and children could always find guidance from the elders sitting around the fireplace. Mukamudenge Angela hopes that her stories and a better understanding of previous generations will lead her son to both appreciate the benefits of a changing Rwanda, and learn from his family's past.

Kayiranga Celestin & Mukasine Dafrose

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At Mukasine Dafrose's request, Kayiranga Celestin recounts the story of Rwabugiri and Rwanyonga. The story of a king and his highest confidant and the jealousy and hostility between them. The events that transpire during a hunting trip, a contest, and a wedding, communicate to Mukasine Dafrose that heroism comes in many forms and allows her to compare modern life with the ways of the past. Kayiranga Celestin uses this folk tale to encourage Mukasine Dafrose to be heroic in her daily life by living in harmony and being hospitable to those in need.

Ngunga Deogratius & Mugabo Richard

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Mugabo Richard asks his elder about colonialism: How were they able to take control of Rwanda? What types of things did his father witness under colonialism? Why did this they decide to divide Rwandan society? Ngunga Deogratius describes the injustices he saw like poisoning of the water, burning of houses, needless slaughter of cattle, etc. Ngunga Deogratius describes the misunderstandings between the colonial settlers and indigenous people on issues like nutrition, religion, and ethnic divisions. He also tells his son of his time in a dangerous territory.

ARTICLE PUBLISHED

SEPTEMBER 2014 - Archival Science 14 (Nos. 3-4, 2014): 275-306. Available here

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OCTOBER 2014 - Founder and Director Patricia Pasick, Ph.D. has been honored as a 2014 Purpose Prize Fellow which recognizes “outstanding social innovators over aged 60 who are working to change the world by finding solutions to challenging social problems.“
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