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By Jan Vansina

To appreciate the genocide and different dramatic occasions of Rwanda’s fresh earlier, one needs to comprehend the background of the sooner realm. Jan Vansina offers a critique of the background recorded by way of early missionaries and court docket historians and offers a bottom-up view, drawing on thousands of grassroots narratives. He describes the genesis of the Hutu and Tutsi identities, their transforming into social and political changes, their sour feuds, revolts, and massacres, and the relevance of this dramatic heritage to the post-genocide Rwanda of today.2001 French version, Katharla Publishers

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Additional info for Antecedents to Modern Rwanda: The Nyiginya Kingdom (Africa and the Diaspora)

Sample text

110 Here “Rwanda” refers to the country of the enemy. One concludes from all of this that before Ndori’s arrival the only known territorial ethnonyms referred to the small principalities to which they were linked, either by the use of Abanyarwanda +X, or by the use of a toponym such as Abariza (meaning “people of Buriza”) or Abanyanduga (meaning “people of Nduga”). No ethnonym is found to designate all the inhabitants of central Rwanda in opposition to the mountain people of the north and the west.

It turns out that most of these narratives are not historical in origin and hence they are discussed in the second appendix to this book. This set is followed by a cycle of tales about the foundation of the kingdom by Ndori that will be form a basis for our second chapter. A fourth body includes all sorts of traditions starting with Gisanura for some, but with Mazimpaka for most. 37 The following five chapters of this book are built on these data. Two of these close in 1796 with the eruption of a long civil war.

If one of my children kills someone, revenge will not be taken on Rwiihiimba. 86 As new generations were added, for instance when grandchildren married, new inzu lineages grew. But on the basis of their common genealogy they still considered themselves as belonging to a single major lineage, the umuryango (“the gate to the compound”),87 and often still inhabited the same neighborhood on the same hill. This exogamic group was in the first place responsible for the security of its members and were expected to practice vendettas against the lineages (inzu or umuryango) who had killed one of their members or rustled their cattle.

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