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History of the Tutsi and the Hutu

The Tutsi

Conflict in Burundi

Genocide in Rwanda

Works Cited

The Hutu

The Hutu has always been the majority population, ever since they displaced the Twa in the central east area of Africa. Today, the Hutu make up 85% of the population in Burundi and 84% in Rwanda. This percentage has stayed pretty constant over the years. The Hutu were under contract or ubuhake with the Tutsi. They pledged their and their descendant’s services to the Tutsi, in return they received loans of cattle and arable land. The Hutu were the gentry in the Tutsi’s feudal system.

The Hutu's existence is based on the land. They are the tenders of the land in Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire, currently known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are farmers, the men and the women, respectively. An individuals ability to do work hard is priced and acclaimed above all else.

The Hutu, like the Tutsi, speak Kinyarwanda, as they call it in Rwanda or Kirundi, as they call it in Burundi. They also speak French and Swahili, especially along the Tanzanian border. They are predominantly Christian and believe in animism. They believe in Imaana. They believe that he was a god that had human qualities, but was distant and unengaged with the people. They also believe in the abazima. They believe that the abazima, if angry, can bring bad luck on those that have angered them. So, gifts are offered to try and appease the abazima.

The Hutu have a couple rites of passage. One of them is that once a baby is born, it and its mother stay in their home for seven days. On the seventh day the baby is named at a naming ceremony. In marriage the man’s family has to pay the bride’s family, usually with cattle, goats or beer. The bride is covered in milk and herbs, to make it pure on the day of the ceremony.

The Hutu tell the story of Samadari. He is considered a folk hero. He broke the rules that everyone else had to follow. He was able to make fun of the rich and the powerful. He also insulted the wealthy cattle owners.