Why the Rwandan Hutus and Tutsis hate each other

Twenty-five years ago in Rwanda, Tasian Nkundiye murdered his neighbor with a machete and chopped his body into pieces.

Pastor Elizaphan of seven day Adventist church allowed  killers into the church building to murder helpless people who came to seek protection

The Rwandan Genocide was pure horror, husbands killed wives, neighbors and friends killed each other, churches became slaughter houses, a sea of dead bodies were everywhere . The death toll is claimed to be about 800,000 people , all because two groups of people the Hutus and the Tutsis resented each other.

We would tell you about how it all started…

The Tutsi-

Are extremely tall, slender, and fairer and look like descendants of Fulani, Somali or Ethiopia. One striking feature of the Tutsi was their height, they are sometimes as tall as 8FT  and had thin long nose and lips

The precolonial Tutsi owned most of the cattle in Rwanda which was a symbol of power; he was richer and nobler. The Tutsi was just 15% of the population but because of their wealth and cattle, they belonged to the ruling class.

Above are Pre-Colonial Tutsi- Very tall with Oblong face, Below Rwanda first family are all Tutsi(s) 


The Hutus

Historically The Hutus were the farmers, the cultivators of land. Their features are more African, they had wider noses, shorter features, darker skin and shorter hair.

The less privileged Hutus who were mostly farmers in the past would serve the Tutsi in exchange for cattle and cattle products

Above Hutu women


Hutus who did well, progressed and owned cattle also achieved Noble status, just like Tutsi. the class system was flexible.

 The Hutus, Tutsis and other ethnic groups lived together peacefully,  spoke the same language, had one homogeneous culture and food.  Because Hutu and Tutsi intermarried, it was sometimes difficult to clearly tell them apart 

Seeds of Genocide planted by colonizers – Germany and Belgium

When German Colonizers invaded, they  believed the Tutsis and Hutus were different races, and because the Tutsis seemed noble and richer, they were favored by the Germans who believed they were the superior race.

The Tutsi were given key positions leading districts and provinces and only report to the colonial masters.

When Belgian colonizers came on board they made things worse – A system of divide and rule that ensured the ethnic Tutsis and Hutus would hate each other

The Hutus were put to work on the fields planting coffee beans for the Belgians while the Tutsis were made to lord over them.

Drums of war:

1959- Hutus and Tutsi fought the first of many battles in 1959 killing 20,000 people- Belgian colonialist had to intervene & stop the war. They then called for a democratic election.

1962- Rwandan Independence, The Hutu Majority wins the election.

With the Hutu in power, Tutsis go on exile to Uganda & Burundi 

Lets press fast forward From 1962 to Rwanda Genocide in 1994-  we skip past several civil wars, Massacres, unrest and failed peace talks between the Hutus & Tutsis

Road to the Genocide-

After years of non stop civil war and unrest, the key players in the Rwanda civil war sat down to negotiate a peace deal – “The Arusha Accords” 

Juvénal Habyarimana – Rwanda  Moderate president  a Hutu who made some efforts to accommodate the Tutsis. he was non violent

The Akazu: 

A radical group of extremist Hutus who hated the Tutsis and wanted no peace with them.  They used the radio to spread discriminatory messages against the Tutsis encouraging killings and discrimination. No negotiation with the Tutsis

The RPF :  This was a rebel group of Tutsis headed by current president Paul  Kagame. Through strategic guerrilla warfare his army frustrated the ruling Hutu government to the negotiation table- on behalf of the Tutsis

This three reached a fragile peace agreement.

Hardline Hutus broke the  peace treaty by staging riots and attacking Tutsis in Rwanda.

In Febuary 1993 Paul Kagame responded in strength and brute force, taking up large swats of territory from Rwanda. But France supporter of the Hutus( for selfish reasons) backed the Rwanda army pressuring Kagame’s RPF into another cease fire

The Akazu (Hutu hardliners) has had enough of Kagame’s RPF and any peace talks, it was time to prepare for the “apocalypse” They started stockpiling machetes, clubs, knifes, daggers and all dangerous weapons.

April 6th 1994-

The Rwanda’s president’s plane is shot down from the sky- Hutus blamed the Tutsi, Tutsis said it was an excuse to attack them.

Cut down the tall trees!

A code word that meant kill all the Tutsis  was announced by the Akazu through their propaganda radio. That was how 100 days of Genocide started

RPF responds to the Genocide

Paul Kagame’s  a”master of psychological warfare”,  exploited the fact that the Rwandan Army were concentrating on the genocide, he started fighting to take back Rwanda, He refused to cease fire, rejected international pressure and  At the end of July 1994 Kagame’s forces held the whole of Rwanda. 


Today he rules Rwanda with an iron fist. There are no more Hutus or Tutsis only Rwandans. Paul Kagame is a bigger hero than Nelson Mandela (my take)


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