Hutu and Tutsi
Beginning on April 6, 1994, and for the next hundred days, up to 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutu militia using clubs and machetes, with as many as 10,000 killed each day. We must figure out why this happened.
Who's a Hutu, Who's a Tutsi?
Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Central Africa, with just 7 million people, and is comprised of two main ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi. Together, Hutus and Tutsis account for nearly all the people of Rwanda and Burundi. Roughly 90 percent of Rwandans are Hutu, while 9 percent are Tutsi. About 85 percent of Burundians are Hutu, and 14 percent are Tutsi. (The rest are mainly Twa, an indigenous pygmy people.)
Contact between the two groups dates back to the Tutsis' arrival in Hutu territory six centuries ago. But, until the 20th century, they apparently got along well - so well, in fact, that experts now disagree, sometimes vehemently, about the nature of the differences between them.
Although the Hutus account for 90 percent of the population, in the past, the Tutsi minority was considered the aristocracy of Rwanda and dominated Hutu peasants for decades. The Tutsis were more prominent in the royalty and hierarchy of the country but most of them were still peasants. The Hutus were the farmers and the Tutsis ran the cattle. During the time of European Colonization, the Belgians came to Rwanda and decided to further the gap between the peaceful Hutus and Tutsis. The Belgians saw the Tutsis as more like themselves; therefore, they took them under their wing and educated them and brought them up to be the upper echelon of society. The Europeans created tribal cards to differentiate between the two groups. Believing that they were just furthering what the Tutsis had created, the Belgians created a class system. Due to their presence, the Belgians made the discrimination between the two groups greater and yet the Hutus and Tutsis were still living together peacefully. The Hutus, having no power, accepted the role of the oppressed for many years. The Tutsis had the power, money, jobs, and land. Over the the years resentment will build and when the Hutus take power they will take revenge on the Tutsis.
Some say there are racial differences. Tutsis are supposedly taller, thinner, and lighter-skinned, while Hutus are supposedly shorter, thicker, and darker-skinned. Yet others say these biometric measures are groundless, if not racist garbage. They point out that years of intermarriage have long since blurred racial boundaries - if they existed at all.
The Hutu and the Tutsi aren't much different ethnically, either. They speak the same languages (which used to be the Hutus'), follow essentially the same clan and kinship systems (borrowed from Tutsi traditions), and practice the same religions. Many in both groups are now Roman Catholic.
When the Belgians took control of the country, the Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa lived peacefully together, and weren’t segregated. The Belgians then defined each group by their skin color, eye color, the size of the nose and height – all attributes of race.
1300s - Tutsis migrate into what is now Rwanda, which was already inhabited by the Twa and Hutu peoples.
Late 1800s - Tutsi King Kigeri Rwabugiri establishes a unified state with a centralised military structure.
1858 area is visited by first Europeans
1890 - Rwanda becomes part of German East Africa.
1916 - Belgian forces occupy Rwanda.
1923 - Belgium granted League of Nations mandate to govern Ruanda-Urundi, which it ruled indirectly through Tutsi kings.