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By Jan Vansina

To appreciate the genocide and different dramatic occasions of Rwanda’s fresh prior, one needs to comprehend the historical past of the sooner realm. Jan Vansina presents a critique of the historical past recorded through early missionaries and courtroom historians and gives a bottom-up view, drawing on enormous quantities of grassroots narratives. He describes the genesis of the Hutu and Tutsi identities, their transforming into social and political variations, their sour feuds, revolts, and massacres, and the relevance of this dramatic heritage to the post-genocide Rwanda of today.2001 French variation, Katharla Publishers

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89 Social status within kin groups was determined first by age and then by gender. Only the older married men, who had lost their parents and belonged to an older generation, were really independent. They were the leaders of inzu and its representatives to the outer world. All others, men and women, were their dependents. 90 In principle they were inferior to one man—this was most evident in the case of women married to farmers since women could not control any land, but it was also apparent among herders despite women’s right to own cattle.

101 Many scholars hold 34 Central Rwanda on the Eve of the Emergence of the Kingdom that the clan had lost its genuine function in the nineteenth century but that in a remote past it had once represented a more efficient social aggregate; one may, however, doubt even that. 102 We will see that the Nyiginya clan developed from a group of Ndori’s kinsfolk that dates its emergence to the late seventeenth century. 103 This example and the case of the autochthon clans lead one to suspect that far from being groups of hoary antiquity that survived all later changes even though they were gradually stripped of their functions, clans are in fact phenomena that derive from the political arena.

Later the cereals were threshed a second time, winnowed, and 24 Central Rwanda on the Eve of the Emergence of the Kingdom stored in the granary for cereals. Banana plantations with a few other associated plants were set outside the fields and around the houses, while small, dry-season fields were exploited on the margins of the marshes for the cultivation of tubers (water yam, taro). ). This list might leave one with the false impression that the farmers were not interested in trying new crops and agricultural techniques.

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