Hutu

Last updated
Hutu
Abahutu
Regions with significant populations
Flag of Rwanda.svg  Rwanda 11.1-12 million (84%-90% of the total population) [1]
Flag of Burundi.svg  Burundi 10.4 million (85% of the total population)
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg  DR Congo 2 million (2% of the total population)
Languages
Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, French, English
Religion
Mainly Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Tutsi, Twa, other Rwanda-Rundi speakers, and Bantu peoples

The Hutu ( /ˈht/ ), also known as the Abahutu, are a Bantu ethnic or social group native to the African Great Lakes region of Africa. They live mainly in Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they form one of the principal ethnic groups alongside the Tutsi and the Great Lakes Twa.

Contents

Demographics

The Hutu is the largest of the three main population divisions in Burundi and Rwanda. Prior to 2017, the CIA World Factbook stated that 84% of Rwandans and 85% of Burundians are Hutu, with Tutsis the next largest ethnic group at 15% and 14% of residents in Rwanda and Burundi, respectively. However, these figures have since been removed. [2] [3]

The Twa pygmies, the smallest of the two countries' principal populations, share language and culture with the Hutu and Tutsi. They are distinguished by a considerably shorter stature. [4] [5]

Origins

The Hutu are believed to have first emigrated to the Great Lake region from Central Africa in the great Bantu expansion. [6] Various theories have emerged to explain the purported physical differences between them and their fellow Bantu-speaking neighbors, the Tutsi. The Tutsi were pastoralists and are believed to have established aristocratic control over the sedentary Hutu and Twa. Through intermarriage with the Hutu, the Tutsi were gradually assimilated culturally, linguistically and racially. [7]

Others suggest that the two groups are related but not identical, and that differences between them were exacerbated by Europeans, [8] or by a gradual, natural split, as those who owned cattle became known as Tutsi and those who did not became Hutu. [5] Mahmood Mamdani states that the Belgian colonial power designated people as Tutsi or Hutu on the basis of cattle ownership, physical measurements and church records. [9]

The debate over the ethnic origins of the Hutu and Tutsi within Rwandan politics predates the Rwandan genocide, and continues to the present day, [10] with the government of Rwanda no longer using the distinction.

Genetics

Y-DNA (paternal lineages)

Modern-day genetic studies of the Y-chromosome suggest that the Hutu, like the Tutsi, are largely of Bantu extraction (83% E1b1a, 8% E2). Paternal genetic influences associated with the Horn of Africa and North Africa are few (3% E1b1b and 1% R1b), and are ascribed to much earlier inhabitants who were assimilated. However, the Hutu have considerably fewer Nilo-Saharan paternal lineages (4.3% B) than the Tutsi (14.9% B). [11]

Autosomal DNA (overall ancestry)

In general, the Hutu appear to share a close genetic kinship with neighboring Bantu populations, particularly the Tutsi. However, it is unclear whether this similarity is primarily due to extensive genetic exchanges between these communities through intermarriage or whether it ultimately stems from common origins:

[...] generations of gene flow obliterated whatever clear-cut physical distinctions may have once existed between these two Bantu peoples – renowned to be height, body build, and facial features. With a spectrum of physical variation in the peoples, Belgian authorities legally mandated ethnic affiliation in the 1920s, based on economic criteria. Formal and discrete social divisions were consequently imposed upon ambiguous biological distinctions. To some extent, the permeability of these categories in the intervening decades helped to reify the biological distinctions, generating a taller elite and a shorter underclass, but with little relation to the gene pools that had existed a few centuries ago. The social categories are thus real, but there is little if any detectable genetic differentiation between Hutu and Tutsi. [12]

Tishkoff et al. (2009) found their mixed Hutu and Tutsi samples from Rwanda to be predominately of Bantu origin, with minor gene flow from Afro-Asiatic communities (17.7% Afro-Asiatic genes found in the mixed HutuTutsi population). [13]

Language

A traditional Hutu throwing knife. Hutu.jpg
A traditional Hutu throwing knife.

Hutus speak Rwanda-Rundi as their native tongue, which is a member of the Bantu subgroup of the Niger–Congo language family. Rwanda-Rundi is subdivided into the Kinyarwanda and Kirundi dialects, which have been standardized as official languages of Rwanda and Burundi respectively. It is also spoken as a mother tongue by the Tutsi and Twa.

Additionally, a small portion of Hutu speak French, the other official language of Rwanda and Burundi, as a lingua franca, although the population is dwindling given the poor relations between Rwanda and France.

Post-colonial history

Hutu and other Rwandan children in Virunga National Park Children in Virunga National Park.jpg
Hutu and other Rwandan children in Virunga National Park
Hutu militants
Rwandan genocide (1994)
Impuzamugambi
Interahamwe
Rwandan Armed Forces
Refugee crisis
RDR (1995–1996)
1st and 2nd Congo War
ALiR (1996–2001)
FDLR (2000–present)

The Belgian-sponsored Tutsi monarchy survived until 1959 when Kigeli V was exiled from the colony (then called Ruanda-Urundi). In Burundi, Tutsis, who are the minority, maintained control of the government and military. In Rwanda, the political power was transferred from the minority Tutsi to the majority Hutu. [14]

In Rwanda, this led to the "Social revolution" and Hutu violence against Tutsis. Tens of thousands of Tutsis were killed and many others fled to neighboring countries, such as Burundi, Uganda and expanding the Banyamulenge Tutsi ethnic group in the South Kivu region of the Belgian Congo. Later, exiled Tutsis from Burundi invaded Rwanda, prompting Rwanda to close its border to Burundi.

In Burundi, a campaign of genocide was conducted against the Hutu population in 1972, [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] and an estimated 100,000 Hutus died. [20] In 1993, Burundi's first democratically elected president, Melchior Ndadaye, who was Hutu, was believed to be assassinated by Tutsi officers, as was the person constitutionally entitled to succeed him. [21] This sparked a genocide in Burundi between Hutu political structures and the Tutsi military, in which an estimated 500,000 Burundians died.[ citation needed ] There were many mass killings of Tutsis and moderate Hutus; these events were deemed to be a genocide by the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi. [22]

While Tutsi remained in control of Burundi, the conflict resulted in genocide in Rwanda as well. [23] A Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, invaded Rwanda from Uganda, which started a civil war against Rwanda's Hutu government in 1990. A peace agreement was signed, but violence erupted again, culminating in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, when Hutu extremists killed [24] an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsis. [25]

About 30% of the Twa pygmy population of Rwanda were also killed by the Hutu extremists. [26] At the same time, the Rwandan Patriotic Front took control of the country and is still the ruling party as of 2020. Burundi is also currently governed by a former rebel group, the Hutu CNDD-FDD.

As of 2006, violence between the Hutu and Tutsi had subsided, but the situation in both Rwanda and Burundi was still tense, and tens of thousands of Rwandans were still living outside the country (see Great Lakes refugee crisis). [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Demographics of Rwanda

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Rwanda, including population density, ethnicity, education higher level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population. Rwanda's population density, even after the 1994 genocide, is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa at 500 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,300/sq mi). This country has few villages, and nearly every family lives in a self-contained compound on a hillside. The urban concentrations are grouped around administrative centers.

Human occupation of Rwanda is thought to have begun shortly after the last ice age. By the 11th century, the inhabitants had organized into a number of kingdoms. In the 19th century, Mwami (king) Rwabugiri of the Kingdom of Rwanda conducted a decades-long process of military conquest and administrative consolidation that resulted in the kingdom coming to control most of what is now Rwanda. The colonial powers, Germany and Belgium, allied with the Rwandan court.

The Tutsi, or Abatutsi, are an ethnic group of the African Great Lakes region. Tutsi are a Bantu-speaking ethnic group of probable Nilotic origin, and the second largest of three main ethnic groups in Rwanda and Burundi.

Rwandan genocide 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

The Rwandan genocide occurred between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War. During this period of around 100 days, members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, as well as some moderate Hutu and Twa, were slaughtered by armed militias. The most widely accepted scholarly estimates are around 500,000 to 800,000 Tutsi deaths. Estimates for the total death toll are as high as 1,100,000.

Burundian Civil War Inter-ethnic conflict within Burundi from 1993 to 2005

The Burundian Civil War was a civil war in Burundi lasting from 1993 to 2005. The civil war was the result of longstanding ethnic divisions between the Hutu and the Tutsi ethnic groups. The conflict began following the first multi-party elections in the country since its independence from Belgium in 1962, and is seen as formally ending with the swearing-in of President Pierre Nkurunziza in August 2005. Children were widely used by both sides in the war. The estimated death toll stands at 300,000.

Rwandan Civil War 1990–1994 conflict in Rwanda

The Rwandan Civil War was a large-scale civil war in Rwanda which was fought between the Rwandan Armed Forces, representing the country's government, and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) from 1 October 1990 to 18 July 1994. The war arose from the long-running dispute between the Hutu and Tutsi groups within the Rwandan population. A 1959–1962 revolution had replaced the Tutsi monarchy with a Hutu-led republic, forcing more than 336,000 Tutsi to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. A group of these refugees in Uganda founded the RPF which, under the leadership of Fred Rwigyema and Paul Kagame, became a battle-ready army by the late 1980s.

1993 ethnic violence in Burundi

The 1993 mass killings of Tutsis by the majority-Hutu populace in Burundi are described as genocide in the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi presented to the United Nations Security Council in 1996.

The Banyarwanda are the cultural and linguistic group of people who inhabit mainly Rwanda. Within the Banyarwanda there are three subgroups: Hutu, Tutsi and Batwa. Some Banyarwanda live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, having migrated there from neighbouring Rwanda in waves. In the Congo, they live in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu. There are also 1 million Banyarwanda in Uganda, where they live in the west of the country; Umutara and Kitara are the centres of their pastoral and agricultural areas.

The origins of the Hutu and Tutsi people is a major controversial issue in the histories of Rwanda and Burundi, as well as the Great Lakes region of Africa. The relationship between the two modern populations is thus, in many ways, derived from the perceived origins and claim to "Rwandan-ness". The largest conflicts related to this question were the Rwandan genocide, the Burundian genocide, and the First and Second Congo Wars.

Hutu Power is a racist and ethnosupremacist ideology propounded by Hutu extremists in Rwanda. It led to the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi. Hutu Power political parties and movements included the Akazu, the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic and its Impuzamugambi paramilitary militia, and the governing National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development and its Interahamwe paramilitary militia.

Burundi Country in the Great Rift Valley

Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Lake Tanganyika lies along its southwestern border. The capital cities are Gitega and Bujumbura, which is also the largest city.

Ethnic groups in Burundi

Ethnic groups in Burundi include the three main indigenous groups of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa that have largely been emphasized in the study of the country's history due to their role in shaping it through conflict and consolidation. Burundi's ethnic make-up is similar to that of neighboring Rwanda. Additionally, recent immigration has also contributed to Burundi's ethnic diversity. Throughout the country's history, the relation between the ethnic groups has varied, largely depending on internal political, economic and social factors and also external factors such as colonialism. The pre-colonial era, despite having divisions between the three groups, saw greater ethnic cohesion and fluidity dependent on socioeconomic factors. During the colonial period under German and then Belgian rule, ethnic groups in Burundi experienced greater stratifications and solidification through biological arguments separating the groups and indirect colonial rule that increased group tensions. The post-independence Burundi has experienced recurring inter-ethnic violence especially in the political arena that has, in turn, spilled over to society at large leading to many casualties throughout the decades. The Arusha Agreement served to end the decades-long ethnic tensions, and the Burundian government has stated commitment to creating ethnic cohesion in the country since, yet recent waves of violence and controversies under the Pierre Nkurunziza leadership have worried some experts of potential resurfacing of ethnic violence. Given the changing nature of ethnicity and ethnic relations in the country, many scholars have approached the topic theoretically to come up with primordial, constructivist and mixed arguments or explanations on ethnicity in Burundi.

Religion in Burundi

Religion in Burundi is diverse, with Christianity being the dominant faith. According to a 2008 estimate in CIA Factbook, about 86 percent of the population of Burundi is Christian, 7.9% follow traditional religions, and 2.5 percent is Muslim. In contrast, another estimate by the Encyclopedia of Africa in 2010, states that 67 percent of the Burundi's people are Christians, 23% follow traditional religions, and 10% are Muslims or adherents of other faiths.

Ethnic groups in Rwanda

The largest ethnic groups in Rwanda are the Hutus, which make up about 85% of Rwanda's population; the Tutsis, which are 14%; and the Twa, which are around 1%. Starting with the Tutsi feudal monarchy rule of the 10th century, the Hutus were a subjugated social group. It was not until Belgian colonization that the tensions between the Hutus and Tutsis became focused on race, the Belgians propagating the myth that Tutsis were the superior ethnicity. The resulting tensions would eventually foster the slaughtering of Tutsis in the Rwandan genocide. Since then, policy has changed to recognize one main ethnicity: "Rwandan".

The Rwandan Revolution, also known as the Hutu Revolution, Social Revolution or Wind of Destruction, was a period of ethnic violence in Rwanda from 1959 to 1961 between the Hutu and the Tutsi, two of the three ethnic groups in Rwanda. The revolution saw the country transition from a Belgian colony with a Tutsi monarchy to an independent Hutu-dominated republic.

Twa Group of African Pygmy peoples

The Twa are a group of indigenous African Pygmy tribes.

Great Lakes Twa Pygmy ethnic group of the African Great Lakes region

The Great Lakes Twa, also known as Batwa, Abatwa or Ge-Sera, are a Bantu ethnic group native to the African Great Lakes region on the border of Central and East Africa. As an indigenous pygmy people, the Twa are generally assumed to be the oldest surviving population of the Great Lakes region. Current populations of Great Lakes Twa people live in the states of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2000 they numbered approximately 80,000 people, making them a significant minority group in these countries.

Ikiza

The Ikiza or the Ubwicanyi (Killings) was a series of mass killings—often characterised as a genocide—which were committed in Burundi in 1972 by the Tutsi-dominated army and government, primarily against educated and elite Hutus who lived in the country. Conservative estimates place the death toll of the event between 100,000 and 150,000 killed, while some estimates of the death toll go as high as 300,000.

The Bugesera invasion, also known as the Bloody Christmas, was a military attack which was conducted against Rwanda by Inyenzi rebels who aimed to overthrow the government in December 1963. The Inyenzi were a collection of ethnically Tutsi exiles who were affiliated with the Rwandan political party Union Nationale Rwandaise (UNAR), which had supported Rwanda's deposed Tutsi monarchy. The Inyenzi opposed Rwanda's transformation upon independence from Belgium into a state run by the ethnic Hutu majority through the Parti du Mouvement de l'Emancipation Hutu (PARMEHUTU), an anti-Tutsi political party led by President Grégoire Kayibanda. In late 1963 Inyenzi leaders decided to launch an invasion of Rwanda from their bases in neighbouring countries to overthrow Kayibanda. While an attempted assault in November was stopped by the government of Burundi, early in the morning on 21 December 1963 several hundred Inyenzi crossed the Burundian border and captured the Rwandan military in camp in Gako, Bugesera. Bolstered with seized arms and recruited locals, the Iyenzi—numbering between 1,000–7,000—marched on the Rwandan capital, Kigali. They were stopped 12 miles south of the city at Kanzenze Bridge along the Nyabarongo River by multiple units of the Garde Nationale Rwandaise (GNR). The GNR routed the rebels with their superior firepower, and in subsequent days repelled further Inyenzi attacks launched from the Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

References

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