Rwandan history

Mukayiranga Verena & Mugisha Gabriel & Sharangabo Jean de Dieu


Mukayiranga Verena is speaking with two of her adopted sons, Mugisha Gabriel and Sharangabo Jean de Dieu. She tells stories of her struggles with discrimination between the different ethnicities and how there was nothing but love between all Rwandese people before the colonists arrived. Verena shares how she lived in paralyzing fear during the war saying “I could not sleep well; I would think that people would come to kill us.” Despite being traumatized by her experiences she overcame her fear and shares her story with her sons.

Kwizera Samuel & Igihozo Cindy Providence


Kwizera Samuel shares with his niece, Igihozo Cindy Providence, how people lived together in harmony regardless of ethnicity. All people in Rwanda had love for one another before the tragedy of the genocide. Emergency vehicles would not stop to check the ethnicity of a patient before taking them to the hospital. In fact, those riding the emergency vehicles would all be of different ethnicities in the first place. In those days, people helped one another.

Zimulinda Pheneas & Shingiro Remy


Full of questions concerning the history of religion in Rwanda and how Rwandan culture of the past differs from that of today, Shingiro Remy listens intently to the words of Zimulinda Pheneas, his counselor. Zimulinda Pheneas discusses the origins of churches in Rwanda, the issues of teen pregnancy and drug abuse, how children were traumatized even without going through the genocide, the effect of good parenting and community parenting, and his philosophy on education. He goes into detail on such subjects as rape, gendered violence, and prostitution.

Uwamariya Victoire & Kabuto Noah


Kabuto Noah is curious about the trauma he witnesses in children who are not old enough to remember or have experienced the genocide, but have been affected by it nonetheless. Uwamariya Victoire tells him about the ways the genocide changed how lives are experienced, complicating everything from family structure to education. Most importantly, Kabuto Noah and Uwamariya Victoire discuss the ways that fear, anger, and sadness are best handled.

Mukankubana Rose & Kwizera Jean Pierre


Mukankubana Rose tells her son about finding strength as an orphan, as a widow, and as a mother, and the secret to raising children in difficult times. Kwizera Jean Pierre is curious about the influence of their older family members, the hardest decision she had to make between education and the love she had for her family, and a book written by his uncle.

Umamwezi Philomene & Masengesho Rosine


Both Masengesho Rosine and her grandmother have experienced the hardships that women faced, the genocide, and life as orphans. But have never before spoken to one another about their lives. Umamwezi Philomene acknowledges the hurt and suffering women in particular have struggled with in Rwandan history, but sees a bright future for Masengesho Rosine through her youth and educational opportunities. Most importantly, she reminds her that all Rwandans should stand together for justice and peace, and being an orphan does not mean you cannot find a parent to advise you in times of need.

Umazikungu Beatrice & Gashumba Yves Fabrice


Although Gashumba Yves Fabrice and longs for a peaceful future, he still has a hard time forgiving those involved in the genocide and fears the resurgence of conflict. His friend Umazikungu Beatrice reminds him that kindness toward everyone is the best way to prove that Rwanda can move forward, and it is better to be remembered for acts of kindness rather than the brief satisfaction of taking revenge and being remembered for evil.

Kaberuka Anatole & Mulima Ngautabana Yves


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.

Rwamucyo Denys & Hadasa Esther


Hadasa Esther respects her uncle, Rwamucyo Denys, and wants to know his life history. Rwamucyo Denys tells her about the identity cards that they were forced to carry before the war and how his family fled to Burundi to escape violence. Hadasa Esther asks her uncle many questions about the nature of ethnic discrimination and he reminds her that “All of us are Rwandese” and should be united. Despite the many hardships Rwamucyo Denys has been through, he wants his niece to stay positive and always concentrate on doing what is right.

Uwayezu Dieu Domme & Gota Issa


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.”


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


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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