Rwanda′s long road to reconciliation | Close up - The Current Affairs Documentary | DW | 25.05.2020

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Close up

Rwanda's long road to reconciliation

Twenty-five years after the genocide in Rwanda, the country has not yet achieved reconciliation — but it is making substantial progress.

The genocide cost almost a million lives. Radical Hutus incited their own ethnic group to kill the Tutsi minority. Today, 25 years later, Rwanda has not yet achieved reconciliation — but the country has made substantial progress. 

Under the current government, which ended the genocide in 1994, the small East African country has become a model state. The economy is growing, the streets are clean, and there's little corruption.

But the government has also sharply restricted freedom of expression, because it believes the Hutus still pose a threat. Hundreds of thousands of Hutus have fled to neighboring eastern Congo because they fear attacks by Rwanda's Tutsi-led government. Thousands of Rwandan fighters have settled in Congo's forests. There are occasional outbreaks of violence in the region. 

Our report features interviews with members of "Generation 25" — young people who were born during or shortly after the genocide in 1994. How are they dealing with the burden of the country's history? Many are trying to break free of the past, and to realize their vision of reconciliation.  

We focus on a play called "Generation 25," which tells the story of a Hutu girl named Grace. She and her family were fleeing the genocide when they came across a dying woman and her baby. The mother asked Grace to save the infant, and she did. Grace called the child Vanessa, and raised her as her own. 

We also tell the story of young Rwandan fighters who were born in eastern Congo and are now serving in Hutu militias led by veteran commanders who still preach the ideology of genocide. But some of the young fighters, like Habimana Moise, have managed to escape to Rwanda. 

Our reporter Sabine Bohland outlines Rwanda's long and complex journey toward reconciliation. The actors of the theater group and the young former militia members are part of "Generation 25," and they are gradually learning to overcome the effects of the hardships that they've experienced.