Ministry of reconciliation in the context of ethnic ideology and genocide : a theological evaluation of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda

Muke, Nagaju (2016-11-22)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation frames the1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda, which took over a million people’s lives as a result of the contextual factors emerging from Rwandan history. Given the destruction of social cohesion after the 1994 genocide, this study employs a realist evaluation approach proposed by Pawson and Tilley (1997; 2004) to develop a theological understanding and definition of reconciliation, which incorporates the need to truly address the context of modern Rwanda. A realist approach includes interrogating the context of interventions in order to understand how and why mechanisms can trigger particular outcomes. In conducting this realist evaluation of the history leading up to the 1994 genocide, ethnic ideology is identified as the main factor creating division. This ideology was a phenomenon artificially created and introduced by policies of colonialists and missionaries, exploited by the “Hutu power” movement after independence, and reinforced by the sectarian policies of the Rwandan government. This ideology sought to categorize the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa communities as ethnically and racially distinct, despite the fact that they all share one ethnicity, one language and a common heritage as Banyarwanda. Taking this understanding of ethnic ideology as a description of the underlying problem in Rwanda, this dissertation seeks to apply theological resources for understanding reconciliation in a way that can undo the effects of ethnic ideology. This new vision of reconciliation will be used to evaluate how the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda (PCR) also referred to by its French name, l’ Eglise Prebytérienne au Rwanda (EPR), addresses ethnic ideology and responds to the effects and consequences of the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi. A closer look at the development of ethnic ideology through Rwandan national and church history, as well as consideration of the various government-led attempts at reconciliation will inform this evaluation. It was found that the EPR has shown significant achievements in the process of reconciliation, but that ethnic ideology still persists. This finding highlights the need for the EPR to provide a clear theology of a shared identity versus one national ethnic identity “Ndi Umunyaranda” (I am a Rwandan) provided by the government in post-genocide Rwanda, which will help church members and other Rwandans to overcome divisions related to ethnicity.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie verhandeling omvat die 1994-volkslagting van die Tutsi’s in Rwanda waar meer as ʼn miljoen mense uitgemoor is, ʼn direkte gevolg van die kontekstuele faktore wat uit die Rwandese geskiedenis verrys het. In ag genome die verwoesting van sosiale samehang ná die 1994-slagting, implementeer hierdie studie ʼn realistiese evalueringsbenadering voorgehou deur Pawson en Tilley (1997: 2004). Deur middel van hierdie evalueringsbenadering word ʼn teologiese begrip en definisie van versoening te ontwikkel waarby die behoefte geïnkorporeer word om die konteks van moderne Rwanda werklik te ondersoek. ʼn Realistiese benadering behels ʼn beoordeling van die konteks van intervensies ten einde te verstaan hoe en waarom meganismes sekere uitkomste kan sneller. In die uitvoer van hierdie realistiese evaluering van die geskiedenis wat die 1994-volkslagting voorafgegaan het, word etniese ideologie as die hooffaktor in die ontstaan van verdeeldheid geïdentifiseer. Hierdie ideologie is as kunsmatige verskynsel deur die beleide van kolonialiste en sendelinge geskep en ingevoer, deur die “Hutu-mag” uitgebuit en deur die sektariese beleide van die Rwandese owerheid versterk. Die ideologie was daarop gerig om die Hutu-, Tutsi- en Twa-gemeenskappe op grond van etniesiteit en ras van mekaar te onderskei, ondanks die feit dat hulle een etnisiteit, een taal en ʼn gemeenskaplike nalatenskap as Banjarwanda gedeel het. Deur die implementering van hierdie definisie van etniese ideologie as ʼn beskrywing van die onderliggende probleem in Rwanda, soek die navorser na teologiese hulpmiddels om versoening op ʼn manier te verstaan wat die gevolge van etniese ideologie ongedaan kan maak. Hierdie nuwe siening van versoening sal gebruik word om die wyse te evalueer waarop die leraars van die Presbiteriaanse Kerk in Rwanda (PKR, in Frans le Eglise Prebytérienne au Rwanda, of EPR) etniese ideologie hanteer en op die uitwerking en gevolge van die 1994-volksmoord op die Tutsi reageer. ʼn Nader beskouing van die ontwikkeling van etniese ideologie deur die loop van Rwandese nasionale en kerkgeskiedenis, sowel as die oorweging van verskeie regeringsgeleide pogings vir versoening, sal hierdie evaluering onderlê. In hierdie tesis word daar bevind dat die EPR merkwaardige sukses in die versoeningsproses bereik het, maar dat etniese ideologie steeds bestaan. Hierdie analise beklemtoon die behoefte aan die daarstelling van ʼn duidelike teologie van ʼn gedeelde identiteit deur die EPR tenoor een nasionale etniese identiteit “Ndi Umunyaranda” (Ek is ʼn Rwandees) wat deur die owerheid in die post-volkslagting Rwanda verskaf is. Sodoende sal kerklidmate en ander Rwandese in staat gestel word om etnies gebaseerde verdeeldheid te bowe te kom.

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