Piecing Together Rwanda’s Past

Directed by Hugh Hartford, Banyak Productions

Radio in Rwanda plays a hugely important part in getting news to the rural edges of the country. Leading up to and during the genocide in 1994, now notorious radio broadcasts from ‘Radio Rwanda’ stirred up a population to attack their neighbours. Broadcasts claimed that Tutsi were foreigners and should be forced home. Historical propaganda was used to justify the massacre of nearly one million people

In Rwanda today, a very sensitive revolution is taking place. Through the gentle efforts of Professor Kanimba and archaeologist John Giblin, Rwandan history is being rewritten.

John Giblin, a Phd student from London, and Professor Kanimba introduce us to the idea that Rwanda’s history does not fit with the new evidence they are finding. With pottery shards and cattle bones, Giblin and Kanimba are piecing together a history of Rwanda that shows the origins of Hutu and Tutsi are more blurred than what is commonly thought. They are finding evidence of trading between Hutu and Tutsi, of intermarriage. They are finding evidence to prove that Tutsi did not arrive from outside Rwanda but originated from within Rwanda, and lived alongside Hutu for at least the last 1,700 years, if not more.

Finally, this new history, is presented on a weekly radio show called Hambere. Piecing together Rwanda’s past looks at an amazing moment in Rwanda, where, a radio presenter, a Phd student and a historian are challenging over 100 years of misrepresentation.