Hotel Rwanda : individual heroism or interconnectedness in the portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina?

Momberg, Marthie (2016)

CITATION: Momberg, M. 2016. Hotel Rwanda : individual heroism or interconnectedness in the portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina?. Scriptura, 115(1): 1-12, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7833/115-0-1176.

The original publication is available at http://scriptura.journals.ac.za

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

Article

Why does the protagonist in the film ‘Hotel Rwanda’ (2004) shelter almost 1300 refugees and in the process risk his own life? Most critics say it is because Paul Rusesabagina is a hero. Yet heroism as an individual act of courage may not be the only answer. I argue that an inclusive enactment of interconnected, communal belonging opens up the possibility to understand facets of Rusesabagina’s bravery as a spiritual choice. To fail to consider clues from the Rwandese society and its heritage may, even with the best of intentions to do the opposite, result in projections of the self that compound the tragedy of othering in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 when the world turned a blind eye to the massacre.

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