Hutu and the Tutsi were the two well-known communities in the history of Burundi and Rwanda and also in the Great Lakes territories of Africa.
Fact 1 History Of The Two Tribes
According to historians, there were quite a number of social structures in Rwanda. The Tutsis were a group that lived in Rwanda many years back. They were known to be the aristocratic class in Rwanda. The Hutus also were the richer class of the society and were considered to be at par with the aristocrat Tutsis. The Germans discovered a special physical feature of the Tutsis who lived in the Rwanda – Burundi region. They had long noses and owned many cows. Thus it was concluded that the Tutsis most probably were European descendants and came from Ethiopia as original Africans do not have long noses.
Fact 2 The Conflict Between Hutus And Tutsis
In the Great Lakes region of Africa, Catholic missionaries tried to spread Christianity among these tribes. The Tutsis were not willing to accept this conversion. However, the Hutus were successfully convinced by the missionaries and they transferred the properties of Tutsis to the Hutus who had embraced Christianity. This led to the conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis.
Fact 3 Early Years
Rwanda was ruled by a Tutsi monarch known as Mwami. The north-western part was ruled by the Hutus. But after independence, the monarchial system came to an end. The two groups were unified under the same cultural values. Marriages between the two tribes improved their relationship and strengthen their bond. They spoke the same language Bantu. Tutsi is recognized as a class today and not an ethnic group.
Fact 4 Differences Between Hutu And Tutsi
In spite of sharing a good relationship between each other, there are many differences between the two classes.
- Difference in physical features: The Tutsis were the fairer group. They were tall, fair and had long noses that was a very striking feature among people who lived in Africa. Their voices too were high pitched. The Hutus, on the other hand, although short had broad features and were stronger as compared to the Tutsis. Their noses were big and the voice was not as high as that of the Tutsis. They had low and soft voices.
- Education: German rulers favored the Tutsis more than the Hutus. According to them, the Tutsis were superior and so gave them education facilities and positions in government jobs. This was not in favor of the Hutus who were larger in numbers. This again gave rise to conflicts between the Hutus and Tutsis. The Belgians took this opportunity and began to control this region after the First World War But this system was soon changed and in 1959, the Hutus too were given the opportunity to form the government through disciplinary measures.
- Political: The scenario changed as the Hutus took control over the government. They oppressed the Tutsis and killed many people especially who belonged to the ethnic group. Naturally the strife increased and many people lost their lives including the Hutus. In 1993, a Hutu became the President of Rwanda in the democratic elections. The Hutus were politically strong whereas the Tutsis had armed forces. Hence there was constant war in Rwanda – Burundi regions. The Hutu President was killed by the Tutsi militants.
- Constant war among the two groups was a very common feature. After independence, they started brutally murdering each other. In 1962, two new countries were announced. Hutus were the leaders of Rwanda and Burundi was under the Tutsis. But this this did not bring an end to their rivalry. The civil war of 1994 saw great massacres. Many Hutus migrated to Zaire and Tanzania for fear of the Tutsi militants.