GEOG 351: Geography of Africa

In April 1994, a genocide occurred in the central African country of Rwanda. Estimates of the number killed are usually around 800,000 people in about 100 days. The genocide was against the Tutsi people and was done by the Hutus. Moderate Hutus who did not support the genocide were also killed. The genocide ended when a Tutsi rebel group took over the country, and over 1.5 million Hutus fled to neighboring countries, largely Zaire (DR Congo).

Here is a United Nations Brief History of Rwanda, which gives a little background on colonization and then goes into the “ethnic cleansing.” (Ethnic cleansing is a term politicians often use to avoid the word “genocide.”)

Here is a 2011, news article from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) titled “Rwanda: How the Genocide Happened.”

Here is a short article from United to End Genocide, on how the Rwandan genocide was mobilized to murder so many people in roughly 100 days.

Here is a short article by the United Nations about trying to get justice after the genocide. Concentrate on the “gacaca” system.

Here is a short BBC article describing criticisms of the the gacaca system:


Along with the above articles, use the information you have learned throughout the courses video lectures to go more in depth into the root causes of this genocide. Your mission is to show that you can take material learned throughout the course to analyze the Rwanda genocide. In the video lectures, we covered things that affected the genocide in Rwanda, but are largely not mentioned or ignored in these articles. Include pertinent information that took place outside of Rwanda that was in the video lectures. Cite relevant video lectures that you use. See #10 below.

Your paper should be a Minimum of 1,000 words. Simply going over the material from the articles with close to 1,000 words is probably a D, a C would be adding a few things from the lectures without few explanations and staying close to the 1000 word minimum. A grade of B would include some original thinking based on some of the video lecture material and go well over the minimum, and an A would show a lot of original thinking and critical thinking, utilizing a lot of material from the video lectures, and well over the minimum word count. The word count does not include things you should not include anyway (title, your name, name and number of course, my name, which quarter, etc – don’t put any of that in the paper).

Your goal is to take things learned about colonization and imperialism, their consequences, as discussed throughout the quarter, and apply that learning to this case of the genocide in Rwanda. Show that you can think critically and apply knowledge learned through the quarter. Cite only appropriate lectures within your paper.

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