Cookies Policy
X

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Beyond Tribalism: The Hutu-Tutsi Question and Catholic Rhetoric in Colonial Rwanda

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

Buy this article

Price:
$30.00+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites

image of Journal of Religion in Africa

Abstract Post genocide commentaries on colonial Rwandan history have emphasized the centrality of the Hamitic Hypothesis in shaping Catholic leaders’ sociopolitical imagination concerning Hutu and Tutsi identities. For most scholars, the resulting racialist interpretation of Hutu and Tutsi categories poisoned Rwandan society and laid the groundwork for postcolonial ethnic violence. This paper challenges the simplicity of this standard narrative. Not only did colonial Catholic leaders possess a complex understanding of the terms ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’, but the Hutu-Tutsi question was not the exclusive or even dominant paradigm of late colonial Catholic discourse. Even after the eruption of Hutu-Tutsi tensions in the late 1950s, Catholic bishops and lay elites continued to interpret the Hutu-Tutsi distinction in a wide variety of ways. Catholic attitudes and the escalation of Hutu-Tutsi tensions stemmed more from contextual political factors than immutable anthropological theories, however flawed.

1. "‘Actualité sociale: Chasser les Communistes n’est Rien, il Faut Établir la Justice Sociale’" L’Ami 1954 Vol 118 383
2. Adriaenssens Jan. Rapport sur la Situation Religieuse, Sociale, et Économique du Ruanda-Urundi 1956 Geneva Institut International Catholique de Recherches Socio-Ecclésiales
3. African Rights Rwanda: Death, Despair, and Defiance 1994 London African Rights
4. "‘Les amitiés Belgo-Rwandaises’" L’Ami 1951 Vol 78 105 106
5. Aubert Roger 150 ans de Vie des Eglises 1982 Brussels Legraine
6. "‘Les Bahutu au Conseil Supérieur du Ruanda’" Temps Nouveaux d’Afrique 1958 March 23 Vol 3
7. Bigirumwami Aloys "‘Le problème des Batutsi, Bahutu et Batwa’" Témoignage Chrétien 1958 5 September 1958
8. Bigirumwami Aloys , Perraudin André "‘Mise en garde des Vicaires Apostoliques contre l’UNAR’" 1959 Rwanda 24 September 1959 Archives of the Diocese of Kabgayi
9. Bizimana J.D. L’église et le Génocide au Rwanda: Les Peres Blancs et le Négationnisme 2004 Paris L’Harmattan
10. Byanafashe Deogratias "‘Mgr. A. Perraudin et les changements politiques au Rwanda entre 1952 et 1962’" Etudes Rwandaises: Série Lettres et Sciences Humaines 2000 Vol 1 120 137
11. Carney James Jay "‘From Democratization to Ethnic Revolution: Catholic Politics in Rwanda, 1950-1962’" 2011 Ph.D. dissertation, The Catholic University of America
12. Cattin Pierre "Letter to Louis Durrieu" 1952 Nº543033 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa 3 October 1952
13. Chrétien Jean-Pierre Amselle Jean-Loup , M’Bokolo Elikia "‘Hutu et Tutsi au Rwanda et au Burundi’" Au Coeur de l’ethnie: Ethnie, Tribalisme et État en Afrique 1999 Paris La Découverte 129 165
14. Chrétien Jean-Pierre Straus Scott The Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History 2003 New York Zone Books
15. Classe Léon "‘Batutsi et Bahutu’" 1905 Kigali, Rwanda Archives du Centre Missionnaire Lavigerie 185 186
16. Classe Léon "Letter to Léon Livinhac" 1911 Kigali, Rwanda Archives du Centre Missionnaire Lavigerie 28 April 1911
17. Classe Léon "‘Le Ruanda et ses Habitants: Organisation Politique, la Religion, la Famille’" Congo: Revue Générale de la Colonie Belge 1922 Vol 1 5 677 693
18. Classe Léon "‘Pour Moderniser le Ruanda. Le Problème des Batutsi’" L’Essor Colonial et Maritime 1930 Vol 9 489 491 1 11
19. Classe Léon "‘Un Pays et Trois Races’" Grands Lacs 1935 Vol 5-6 135 139
20. Classe Léon Instructions Pastorales 1922-1939 1940 Kabgayi, Rwanda Kabgayi Press
21. Codere Helen Biography of an African Society, Rwanda 1900-1960 1973 Tervuren Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale
22. "‘Comité de l’étude de l’aspect social Muhutu-Mututsi (CSP), 31 March-3 April 1957’" 1957 Rwanda Archives of the Diocese of Kabgayi
23. "‘Le communism et l’Afrique noire’?" Temps Nouveaux d’Afrique 1956 22 January 1956
24. "‘Contrat et Travail’" L’Ami 1950 Vol 64 63 66
25. Conway Martin Buchanan Tom , Conway Martin "‘Belgium,’" Political Catholicism in Europe, 1918-1965 1996 Oxford Clarendon 187 218 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203193.003.0007
26. Cyimana Gaspar "‘Problèmes sociaux et ethniques au Ruanda’" Temps Nouveaux d’Afrique 1958 2 November 1958
27. Czekanowski Jan. Scütze Frieda Investigations in the Area Between the Nile and the Congo 1917 New Haven, CT Human Relations Area Files 1960
28. De Lacger Louis , Nothomb Pierre Ruanda 1959 Kabgayi, Rwanda Kabgayi Press
29. De Lame Danielle A Hill Among a Thousand: Transformations and Ruptures in Rural Rwanda 2005 Madison University of Wisconsin Press
30. Dejemeppe Arthur "Letter to Laurent Déprimoz" 1954 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº526777 14 February 1954
31. "‘Le dernier Conseil Supérieur du Ruanda: Lamentables débats’" Temps Nouveaux d’Afrique 1958 Vol 5 6 July 1958
32. Derson Père "‘Question des Évolués’" 1951 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº543027 23 March 1951
33. Des Forges Alison Defeat is the Only Bad News: Rwanda Under Musinga, 1896-1931 1972 Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University.
34. Des Forges Alison Leave None to Tell The Story: Genocide in Rwanda 1999 New York Human Rights Watch. This report can also be accessed online at
35. "‘Deuxième Séance de l’étude de l’aspect social muhutu-mututsi, 10-12 April 1958’" 1958 Rwanda Archives of the Diocese of Kabgayi
36. D’Hertefelt Marcel Les Anciens Royaumes de la Zone Interlacustre Méridionale Rwanda, Burundi, Buha 1962 Tervuren, Belgium Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale
37. D’Hertefelt Marcel Dubb Allie A. Rhodes Livingstone Institute "‘Myth and Political Acculturation in Rwanda’" 1960 Myth in Modern Africa; The Fourteenth Conference Proceedings 114 135
38. D’Hertefelt Marcel Les Clans du Rwanda Ancien: Eléments Ethnosociologie et d’ethnohistoire 1971 Tervuren Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale
39. "‘La Franc-maçonnerie lutte contre l’Eglise’" Temps Nouveaux d’Afrique 1955 23 October 1955
40. Gahama Joseph , Mvuyekure Augustin Chrétien Jean-Pierre , Prunier Gerard "‘Jeu Ethnique, Idéologie Missionnaire et Politique Coloniale: Le Cas du Burundi’" Les Ethnies ont une Histoire 2003 Paris Karthala 303 313
41. Gasabwoya Innocent "‘Etude sur les relations du Clergé avec les Évolués’" 1955 Nº 731603-05 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa 9 February 1955
42. Gasore Louis "‘L’Evolue Face aux Problèmes Économico-sociaux’" Théologie et Pastorale au Ruanda 1956 Vol 1 1 56
43. Gatwa Tharcisse "‘Editorial—Un Appel: Que Penser des Questions Familiales’" L’Ami 1954 Vol 116 284
44. Gatwa Tharcisse The Churches and Ethnic Ideology in the Rwandan Crises, 1900-1994 2005 Milton Keynes Paternoster
45. Gerard Emmanuel Kaiser Wolfram , Wohnout Helmut "‘Religion, Class and Language: The Catholic Party in Belgium’" Political Catholicism in Europe 1918-45 2004 New York Routledge 94 115
46. Gilles Louis "Letter to Louis Durrieu" 1950 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº543009-13 19 August 1950
47. Gourevitch Philip We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda 1998 New York Picador
48. "‘Le Jubilé du Ruanda Catholique 1900-1950’" L’Ami 1950 Vol 67-68 165
49. Kagame Alexis "‘Le Christianisme dans le poésie du Ruanda’" L’Ami 1950 Vol 67-68 137 140
50. Kagame Alexis "‘Leçons de Morale Sociale: La Justice Distributive’" L’Ami 1951 Vol 84 223
51. Kalibwami Justin Le Catholicisme et la Société Rwandaise, 1900-62 1991 Paris Présence africaine
52. Katongole Emmanuel A Future for Africa: Critical Essays in Christian Social Imagination 2005 Scranton, PA Scranton University Press
53. Katongole Emmanuel , Wilson-Hartgrove Jonathan Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda 2009 Grand Rapids, MI Zondervan
54. Kayibanda Gregoire "‘Editorial—Il Nous Fait aussi des Penseurs’" L’Ami 1953 Vol 105 169
55. Kayibanda Gregoire "‘Ce Sera un Peu Dur’" L’Ami 1954 Vol 112 129 131
56. Kayibanda Gregoire "‘Editorial—Un Nouveau Problème’" L’Ami 1954b Vol 113 173 174
57. Kayibanda Gregoire "‘Editorial—Un Peu d’optimisme’" L’Ami 1954c Vol 118 352
58. Kayibanda Gregoire "‘En Marche du Progrès: La Condition Essentielle’" L’Ami 1954d Vol 117 339 347
59. Kayibanda Gregoire "‘La Recontre Europe-Afrique’" L’Ami 1954e Vol 109 7
60. Lavigerie Charles , Hamman A.-G. Écrits d’Afrique. Lettres Chrétiennes, 1966 Vol 3 Paris B. Grasset
61. "‘Leçons de Morale Sociale’" L’Ami 1951 Vol 76-79 63 64 83 84 103 104 123 124
62. Lemarchand René Rwanda and Burundi 1970 New York Praeger
63. Lemarchand René Burundi: Ethnocide as Discourse and Practice 1994 Washington, DC Woodrow Wilson Center
64. Lemarchand René The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa 2009 Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press http://dx.doi.org/10.9783/9780812202595
65. Linden Ian , Linden Jane Church and Revolution in Rwanda 1977 Manchester, U.K. Manchester University Press
66. Longman Timothy Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda 2010 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
67. Lugan Bernard "‘L’Eglise Catholique au Rwanda, 1900-1976’" Etudes Rwandaises 1978 Vol XI 69 75
68. Magaziner Daniel The Law and the Prophets: Black Consciousness in South Africa, 1968-1977 2010 Athens, OH Ohio University Press
69. Mamdani Mahmood When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism and the Genocide in Rwanda 2001 Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
70. "‘Le Manifeste de la J.O.C. Internationale, Bruxelles, 10 sept 1950’" L’Ami 1951 Vol 73 5 7
71. Maquet J.J. The Premise of Inequality in Ruanda 1961 London Oxford University Press
72. Mbonimana Gamaliel "‘Christianisation Indirecte et Cristallisation des Clivages Ethniques au Rwanda (1925-31)’" Enquêtes et Documents d’histoire Africaine III 1978 Louvain Centre d’histoire de l’Afrique 125 163
73. Minnaert Stefaan Premier Voyage de Mgr Hirth au Rwanda: de Novembre 1899 à février 1900, Contribution à l’étude de la Fondation de l’Église Catholique au Rwanda 2006 Kigali Editions Rwandaises
74. Munyangaju Aloys "‘Aux Urnes’" L’Ami 1954 Vol 112 155 156
75. Murego Donat La Révolution Rwandaise, 1959-1962 1975 Louvain Institut des Sciences Politiques et Sociales
76. Mutwarasibo Ernest "‘Crispation Ethnique à la fin du Règne de Mutara III Rudahigwa’" Dialogue 2009 Vol 188 157 180
77. Muzungu Bernardin "‘Le Problème des Races au Rwanda’" Cahiers Lumière et Société 2009 Vol 42 51 69
78. Mvuyekure Augustin Chrétien Jean-Pierre , Prunier Gérard "‘Idéologie Missionnaire et Classifications Ethniques en Afrique’" Les Ethnies ont une Histoire 1989 Paris Karthala 303 324
79. Newbury Catherine The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda 1860-1960 1988 New York Columbia University Press
80. Newbury David The Land Beyond the Mists: Essays on Identity and Authority in Precolonial Congo and Rwanda 2009 Athens Ohio University Press
81. Nkongori Laurent "‘Etudes: La Parenté au Ruanda’" L’Ami 1951 Vol 82 183 186
82. Nkundabagenzi Fidele Rwanda Politique 1958-1960 1962 Brussels Centre de Recherche et d’Information Sociopolitique (CRISP)
83. "‘Des Noirs Communistes formés comme Prêtres Catholiques’" L’Ami 1954 Vol 109 27
84. Nothomb Dominic Petite Histoire de L’Eglise Catholique au Rwanda 1962 Kabgayi, Rwanda Kabgayi Press
85. Ntezimana Alphonse "‘Brin d’histoire à l’occasion du Sacre du premier évêque du Ruanda’" 1952 Kigali, Rwanda Centre Missionnaire Lavigerie,
86. Nzamwita Ignace "‘Le Droit d’Intervention de l’Eglise en matière Sociale’" L’Ami 1953 Vol 107 236 237
87. "‘Un Parti Politique in Partibus au Ruanda-Urundi’" Presse Africaine 1955 17 September 1955
88. "‘Pendant quinze jours: Les Bahutu à Nyanza . . .’" Temps Nouveaux d’Afrique 1958 Vol 1 20 April 1958
89. Perraudin André "Letter to Leo Volker" 1953 General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº526272 3 June 1953
90. Perraudin André "Letter to Henry Sillion" 1955 Kigali, Rwanda Centre Missionnaire Lavigerie 16 February 1955
91. Perraudin André "Letter to M. Ducrey" 1955b Kigali, Rwanda Centre Missionnaire Lavigerie 8 September 1955
92. Perraudin André "‘Lettre pastorale pour l’année 1959’" 1959 Rwanda Archives of the Diocese of Kabgayi 11 February 1959
93. Perraudin André Un Évêque au Rwanda 2003 Saint-Maurice Éditions Saint-Augustin
94. Pottier Johann Re-Imagining Rwanda: Conflict, Survival and Disinformation in the Late Twentieth Century 2002 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
95. "‘Pour le Progrès des Missions’" Theologie et Pastorale au Ruanda 1952 Vol 24 524 537
96. Pauwels Marcel "‘Le Munya-ruanda’" Grands Lacs 1953 Vol 164 49 55
97. "‘Pro Memoria sur quelques difficultés particulières au Ruanda’" 1952 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº526651-52 Anon. 30 October 1952
98. "‘Problèmes sociaux et raciaux en Afrique du sud’" L’Ami 1952 Vol 94 195 197
99. Prunier Gérard The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide 1995 New York Columbia University Press
100. Rapport Annuel 1952 (Nyakibanda) 1952 General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº526559 Nyakibanda Major Seminary, 5 March 1953
101. Rapport Annuel du Vicariat du Ruanda, 1950-51 1951 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº542127
102. Rapport Annuel du Vicariat du Kabgayi, 1955-56 1956 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº542212
103. Rapport du Groupe de Travail concernant le problème politique du Ruanda-Urundi, 1958-59 1959 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa N°721001
104. Reyntjens Filip Pouvoir et Droit au Rwanda: Droit Public et Évolution Politique, 1916-1973 1985 Tervuren Musée Royale de L’Afrique Centrale
105. Rittner Carol , Roth John K. , Whitworth Wendy Genocide in Rwanda: Complicity of the Churches? 2004 St. Paul, MN Paragon Press
106. "‘Le Ruanda-Urundi en 1952’" L’Ami 1954 Vol 112 157 161
107. Rudakemwa Fortunatus L’évangélisation du Rwanda 1900-1959 2005 Paris L’Harmattan
108. Rutayisire Paul La Christianisation du Rwanda 1900-1945: Méthode Missionnaire et Politique Selon Mgr. Léon Classe 1987 Fribourg Editions universitaires Fribourg Suisse
109. Rutayisire Paul "‘Le Tutsi Étranger dans le Pays de ses Aïeux’" Les Cahiers: Evangile et Société, Les Idéologies 1996 Vol 4 42 55
110. Rutayisire Paul "‘Rapports Entre l’église Catholique et l’état Rwandais Pendant la Période Colonial’" Cahiers Lumière et Société: Histoire 1997 Vol 3 7 19 41
111. Rutayisire Paul Rutembesa F. , Karegeye J.P. , Rutayisire P. "‘L’Eglise Catholique et le Décolonisation du Rwanda ou les Illusions d’une Victoire’" Rwanda: L’Eglise Catholique à l’épreuve du Génocide 2004 Greenfield Park, Canada Les Editions Africana
112. Rutayisire Paul "‘Les Signes Précurseurs de la crise de la Toussaint Rwandaise’" Dialogue 2009 Vol 189 6 38
113. Sanders Edith R. "‘The Hamitic Hypothesis: Its Origin and Functions in Time Perspective’" Journal of African History 1969 Vol 10 4 521 532 http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0021853700009683
114. "‘Savez-vous ce qu’est le Communisme’?" L’Ami 1950 Vol 61-63 3 4 6 25 26 43 44
115. Speke John Hanning Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile 2007 Eugene, OR Resource Publications
116. Straus Scott The Order of Genocide: Race, Power and War in Rwanda 2006 Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press
117. "‘Souvenirs du Sacre de Son Excellence Mgr. Aloys Bigirumwami, Vicaire Apostolique du Nyundo’" 1952 June 1 Rwanda Centre Missionnaire Lavigerie, Kigali,
118. Todd David M. "‘Caste in Africa?’" Africa 1977 Vol 47 4 398 412 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1158345
119. "‘Tribune Libre—L’évolué, sa Place, ses Responsabilités’" L’Ami 1954 Vol 117 333
120. Vail Leroy Vail Leroy "‘Introduction: Ethnicity in Southern African History’" The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa 1989 London/Berkeley, CA James Currey/University of California Press 1 18
121. Roey Van , Ernst Joseph "‘L’Eglise et Enseignement Moyen’" L’Ami 1952 Vol 90 104
122. Vansina Jan Antecedents to Modern Rwanda 2003 Madison University of Wisconsin Press
123. Vidal Claudine "‘Colonisation et Décolonisation du Rwanda: La Question Tutsi-Hutu’" Revue Française d’études Politiques Africaines 1973 Vol 91 32 47
124. Volker Leo "Letter to Pierre Cattin" 1952 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº543036 22 October 1952
125. Volker Leo "Letter to André Perraudin" 1954 Rome General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa Nº526343 4 September 1954
126. FN1 1. The literature on the 1994 Rwanda genocide is voluminous, but see Des Forges 1999; Prunier 1995; Gourevitch 1998; African Rights 1994; Mamdani 2001; Straus 2006. On the religious dimensions of the genocide, see Longman 2010; Rittner, Roth and Whitworth 2004; Gatwa 2005; Katongole 2005; Katongole and Wilson-Hartgrove 2009.
127. FN2 2. For a strong recent critique of Classe on these grounds, see Longman 2010, 51-66. The most thorough study of Classe’s ecclesial and social vision remains Rutayisire 1987.
128. FN3 3. While Justin Kalibwami’s influential pregenocide church history offers a sympathetic portrayal of Perraudin (cf. Kalibwami 1991), many postgenocide Rwandan commentators have disparaged Perraudin for lending theological sanction to the late-colonial Hutu political movements that came to dominate postcolonial Rwanda (cf. Byanafashe 2000; Bizimana 2004). Perraudin is not a central figure in most English-language commentaries on Rwanda, and he generally comes off in a more favorable light than Classe (cf. Longman 2010, 66-76, who closely follows Linden 1977, 249-273).
129. FN4 4. This essay developed from research in the General Archives of the Missionaries of Africa in Rome. I am grateful to former archivist Fr. Stefaan Minnaert, M.Afr., for his support and especially for granting access to new sources from the late 1950s and early 1960s. I have also drawn on correspondence, pastoral statements, and Catholic newspapers located in the archives of the Diocese of Kabgayi, Rwanda, and the Centre Missionnaire Lavigerie in Kigali, Rwanda. I thank both Bishop Smaragde Mbonyitege of Kabgayi and Fr. Marc François, M.Afr., for granting access to these sources.
130. FN5 5. This essay focuses on Hutu and Tutsi categories. Rwanda also has a third social or ethnic group, the Batwa. The Twa have lived in Rwanda for thousands of years, residing in the northwestern mountains, the western forests, and around the royal court of Nyanza. They have remained the most endogamous ethnic community in Rwanda, numbering around 1 percent of Rwanda’s total population. During Rwanda’s independence struggles, Twa leaders generally sided more with Tutsi than Hutu factions.
131. FN6 6. Jean-Pierre Chrétien—a scholar who tends to downplay Hutu-Tutsi distinctions—concurs: ‘The term Hutu meant, in the clientage relationship, the subordinate position of the recipient: even if the recipient was Tutsi, the donor spoke of him as “my Hutu”. In Rwanda, the term “Tutsi” little by little was perceived as an identity closely related to power’ (Chretien 2003, 190).
132. FN7 7. Maquet described ubuhakeas a patron-client relationship in which the client ( garagu) offered his services in exchange for the patron’s ( shebuja) protection and usage of land and cattle. The client retained full ownership rights over milk, new male calves, and the meat and skin of deceased cows. The patron also provided for the client’s family after death. Client service included accompanying the patron on trips, working the fields, and keeping watch at night. The patron could also choose to extend the ubuhakerelationship to a deceased client’s heirs. The clientage system existed among Tutsi, although it was rare for a Tutsi garaguto enter into relationship with a Hutu shebuja(cf. Maquet 1961, 129-131. On the prevalence of intra-Tutsi clientage, see D.S. Newbury 2009, 329). First instituted under Mwami Rwabugiri, uburetwarequired the Hutu client to devote two of every five days to working his Tutsi patron’s land. During the 1920s the Belgians reduced this rate to two days per week and made further exceptions for government and mission workers. While client-based ubuhakeapplied to both Tutsi and Hutu, only Hutu were required to perform uburetwaservice. For more on uburetwasee Reyntjens 1985, 134-142, 206-208; Rutayisire 1987, 140-147; Linden 1977, 228.
133. FN8 8. For similar perspectives see Kalibwami 1991; Rudakemwa 2005; Lemarchand 1994 and Lemarchand 2009. Even a strident critic of colonial anthropology like Bernard Muzungu implies the hierarchical and political nature of the traditional Hutu-Tutsi distinction. While emphasizing the fluidity of kwihutura(changing social status), Muzungu admits that ‘this setback [becoming Hutu] could be the result of simple misfortune, dispossession or even confiscation of cows by one’s patron ( kunyagwa) or by foreign aggressors in war, or even as a result of famine or cattle epidemics like rinderpest’ (Muzungu 2009, 54).
134. FN9 9. In directives to his first 1879 caravan of missionaries traveling to Central Africa, Lavigerie instructed the White Fathers to focus on elite conversion: ‘Once the chiefs convert, all the rest will follow after them’. (cf. ‘Premières instructions aux Pères Blancs de l’Afrique équatoriale (1878)’, in Lavigerie and Hamman 1966, 154).
135. FN10 10. Louis de Lacger—the historian that Classse commissioned to write the first official history of the Rwandan church in the late 1930s—also emphasized Rwandan national unity over ethnic disunity, writing that ‘there are few peoples in Europe in which one finds together the three factors of national cohesion: the same language, the same religion, and the same customs’ (De Lacger and Nothomb 1959, 37).
136. FN11 11. In the words of Emmanuel Katongole, ‘it is this Hamitic story . . . that became the unquestioning canon governing the decisions of German and later Belgian colonialists in the administration of Rwanda’ (Katongole 2005, 99). To quote Timothy Longman, ‘Despite the highly consequential shift in missionary support from Tutsi to Hutu, the principles of church-state engagement in Rwanda remained substantially unchanged. The churches continued to engage actively in ethnic politics without challenging the central principles at the root of Rwanda’s ethnic conflict’ (Longman 2010, 66).
137. FN12 12. L’Ami: La Revue des Elites de l’Est de la Coloniewas launched in 1950 as a weekly newspaper for Catholic intellectual elites in Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Congo. Its international pages included frequent reflections on the fates of Indochina, China, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and other nations buckling under communist pressure. See here L’Ami71 (1950), 206; L’Ami93 (1952), 179-180; L’Ami98 (1953), 22-23; L’Ami104 (1953), 164-165; L’Ami113 (1954), 176; L’Ami116 (1954), 304-305. Its successor Temps Nouveaux d’Afriquealso carried forward the anticommunist theme. See here ‘Le communism’ 1956.
138. FN13 13. The 1954 electoral successes of the socialists in Guatemala loomed in the background of this latter article.
139. FN14 14. For similar sentiments see the comments of Laurent Déprimoz, Rwanda’s Vicar Apostolic between 1945 and 1955, in ‘Le Jubilé du Ruanda Catholique’ 1950, 165.
140. FN15 15. Reinforcing this point, a Belgian study group concluded in 1959 that only 6,000 to 10,000 of Rwanda’s 150,000 Tutsi should be classified as ‘elites’ (cf. Rapport du Groupe de Travail1959).
141. FN16 16. Writing seven months later, the Hutu propagandist Gaspar Cyimana admitted that ethnic intermixing in central Rwanda had largely eliminated clear racial distinctions between Hutu and Tutsi. For Cyimana, such physical distinctions could still be made in other regions of Rwanda (Cyimana 1958, 3).
142. FN17 17. For a fascinating recent analysis of the intersection of theology and black identity under South African apartheid, see Magaziner 2010.
143. FN18 18. In his autobiography Perraudin defended Super Omnia Caritasagainst its critics, describing this statement as an appropriate application of Catholic social teaching to a ‘regime of servitude and humiliation for the large proportion of the population’ (Perraudin 2003, 194). Of course, the controversy lies in Perraudin’s very assessment of traditional Rwandan society.
144. FN19 19. In the late 1950s there did not appear to be a clear consensus on whether to describe Hutu and Tutsi as ‘social’ or ‘racial’ groups. For example, the White Fathers’ newspaper Temps Nouveaux d’Afriquestill referred to Hutu and Tutsi as ‘social groups’ in April 1958 (‘Pendant quinze jours’ 1958). At the same time, even as he was undermining some of the traditional Hamitic assumptions of colonial historiography on Rwanda, the influential Belgian anthropologist Marcel d’Hertefelt continued to describe Tutsi as an ‘Ethiopian race’ (D’Hertefelt 1962, 18).
145. FN20 20. RADER’s panethnic, reformist, pro-Catholic vision emerges in their ‘Manifeste du RADER, 1 Oct. 1959’, which can be consulted in Nkundabagenzi 1962, 129. In contrast, UNAR adopted a much stronger anticolonial line in their early statements and called for the reduction of missionary influence in Rwanda. Cf. ‘Charte de fondation du Parti UNAR’, 15 August 1959, and ‘Manifeste du Parti Politique ‘Abashyirahamwe B’Urwanda (UNAR)’, 13 September 1959, in Nkundabagenzi 1962, 92-98. Perraudin and Bigirumwami issued a ‘confidential’ condemnation of UNAR to their priests in late September 1959, although news of this condemnation quickly spread (Bigirumwami and Perraudin 1959).
146. FN21 21. As Leroy Vail has argued, the postcolonial tendency to attribute ethnic conflict solely to European manipulations fails to grapple with the question of why ethnic consciousness developed among some peoples and not others. It also tends to eliminate African agency, portraying Africans as ‘little more than either collaborating dupes or naïve and gullible people, beguiled by clever colonial administrators and untrustworthy anthropologists’ (Vail 1989, 3-4).
147. FN22 22. As René Lemarchand noted in an earlier Burundian context, ‘by abolishing ethnic otherness as a socially relevant term of reference, Tutsi regimes [in Burundi] removed the critical issue of ethnic hegemony and discrimination from the realm of legitimate debate’ (Lemarchand 1994, 32).
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/157006612x646178
2012-01-01
2015-07-07

Affiliations: 1: Department of Theology, Creighton University Omaha, NE, USA jaycarney@creighton.edu

Sign-in

Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to email alerts
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Name:*
    Email:*
    Your details
    Name:*
    Email:*
    Department:*
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
     
     
     
     
    Other:
     
    Journal of Religion in Africa — Recommend this title to your library

    Thank you

    Your recommendation has been sent to your librarian.

  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation