n Africa Insight - 'Lived' identities in Rwanda - beyond ethnicity?

Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


Identity politics in post-genocide Rwanda has continued to centre around ethnicity, whereas this article argues that the 'lived' identities of Rwandans are far more complex and varied than the identity of ethnicity. The Rwandan government has attempted to transcend ethnicity through laws that prohibit the use of ethnicities and the introduction of a particular kind of citizenship discourse. Critics of the government call for more open and robust discussion of ethnicity in the public sphere, and tend to emphasise the perceived unequal access to resources as a central problem in ethnic identity politics in Rwanda. This article attempts to move beyond both these positions, which place the root cause of and solution to identity politics in Rwanda within an ethnic framework, by exploring the complex network of interrelationships in which people move in their daily lives.

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