Shaping Unity - National Identity Construction and Rewriting of the Past in Rwanda

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: In the aftermath of the genocide the Rwandan government is facing the difficult task of uniting Hutus and Tutsis that for generations has been hostile to each other. In this strive references to Hutu, Tutsi and Twa have been replaced by Rwandans in the public discourse, and the government has rewrited history in a way suitable for its goal. This study aims at analysing this rewriting of history, look into how it is implemented in the Rwandan society, and how this is reshaping the national identity, mainly by using theories of narrative identity construction. The results show that the government is underlining what unites people - the pre-colonial period, and eclipse the part that seperated them - post-colonial period. The pre-colonial untiy is recalled through national symbols, traditional culture, media and public events. This is creating collective memroy and constitues the base for a Rwandan national identity.

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