Hutu and Tutsi Torn Apart

In Rwanda, most of the population consisted of Hutu ethnic groups but it also attracted many Tutsis from northern Africa. Historically, the two groups shared their business of farming, their language and their culture. Hutus and Tutsis worked together, were friends, and even intermarried. There was no difference to them other than the Tutsis happened to be landowners and the Hutu worked for them. Therefore, the only dividing factor has been through caste and occupation. The Hutu and Tutsis were part of one ethnic group living and working together in society.

However, when the European colonists moved into Rwanda, they chose the Tutsis to be privileged and educated. The Tutsis started acting like aristocrats and treating the Hutu as an inferior race, creating a political divide. Due to this ethnic identification without any significant cultural basis, there was Hutu resentment that Tutsis formed the elite in Rwanda. This is what brought about the first Hutu revolution in 1959 when the Hutu took over the government and military power. Many of the Tutsis were either killed or driven out of Rwanda and no longer held the majority population. In the early 1990s before the genocide acts, Rwanda’s population was around 85% Hutu, 14% Tutsi, and 1% Twa.


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