Tribes in Rwanda : Located in the Great Rift Valley, Rwanda lies at the heart of the great lakes region of East Africa. With Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic of Congo among its neighbors. It is geographically linked to East Africa. Entirely found in the southern hemisphere with little distance from the Equator, Rwanda has two wet and dry seasons in a year. The country has a population of 12.9 million people occupying 26,338 square kilometers of land making it the most densely populated mainland county in Africa. Encompassed in Highlands, Rwanda has been branded as the land of a thousand hills. With the great scenery and unique experience not forgetting the very warm-hearted people, Rwanda should be on all tourist’s bucket lists in Africa.

Rwanda has three tribes including the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. The Hutus constitute about 85%, the Tutsi about 14%, and the minority 1% are the Twa.  After the infamous Rwandan genocide, people seized to identify themselves by their ethnic attachments but now rather use the umbrella word Rwandan to identify themselves.

The Hutu, also referred to as the bahutu or wahutu is a tribe under the Bantu ethnic group occupying the largest part of Rwanda at 85%. As a result of the famous Bantu trek from the Cameroon highlands what is believed to be their cradle land, the Hutu settled in Rwanda displacing the Twa who were the native occupants of the land. They were agriculturalists and settled in societies with kings called the bahinza. They speak a language that is dissimilar to the Tutsi and most of their culture is integrated. The Hutu are very humble people.

The Tutsi, also referred to as Batutsi, Tussi, or Watutsi is the other tribe in Rwanda. The Tutsi have Nilotic origin, no wonder they are pastoralists in nature. Unlike the Hutu, the Tutsi are herdsmen and hardly settled in a single place. They entered Rwanda in the 14th century after the Hutu. Their settlement in Rwanda displaced some of the Hutu which resulted in tribal wars since then which later resulted in a genocide that further reduced their numbers.

The Twa, also known as the Batwa. The twa were the original inhabitants of Rwanda until the Hutu came displacing most of them and today they constitute about 1 percent of the entire county’s population. Traditionally the two were nomadic hunter-gatherers with a mixture of settling. Today most of these pygmies are found in forest areas.

Tribes in Rwanda
Tribes in Rwanda

However today, you can’t tell someone’s tribe in public and since the genocide. Rwanda rather accepted themselves as Rwandans, putting all their tribalistic differences aside. One of the things that enrich Rwandan History is the massacre that happened in the recent past known as the Rwandan genocide. The Genocide took place during the Rwandan Civil war between 7th and 15th July, 1994. Dubbed the 100 days of slaughter because many people lost their lives in a very brutal way during this crisis. The army and Hutu militia groups are known as interahamwe which means “those who attack together “ also the impuzamugambi meaning “those who have the same goal” played a pivotal role in the genocide confronting the Tutsi’s FPR. Over a million Rwandans lost their lives within these 100 days of darkness, the majority of the deaths were Tutsi. Talking about race in Rwanda doesn’t not only considered abominable but also can land you in jail. Speaking about ethnicity is considered very annoyingly provocative and according to the penal code it’s termed as the crime of “divisionism”.

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