River Nyabarongo and the Hamitic hypothesis: A whirlwind

The Hamitic Hypothesis derives mainly from the Bible in the book of Genesis 9:18-27. These verses recount the story of Ham, the son of Noah, who upon discovering his father naked and in a drunken stupor, “exposed” him to his brothers, Shem and Japheth.
Léon Mugesera announced the apocalypse.
Léon Mugesera announced the apocalypse.

The Hamitic Hypothesis derives mainly from the Bible in the book of Genesis 9:18-27. These verses recount the story of Ham, the son of Noah, who upon discovering his father naked and in a drunken stupor, “exposed” him to his brothers, Shem and Japheth.

Belgian missionaries brought with them this poisonous and harmful way of thinking. This racial based hypothesis regarded the Tutsis as a foreign race which came from somewhere beyond Rwanda.

All these efforts were aimed at challenging the high degree of civilisation in Rwanda at the time, which posed a big threat to the advances of the European colonisation in the country.

“Rwanda was an anomaly that challenged a premise of colonial legitimacy.

Colonial bishops, anthropologists, soldiers and administrators explained it away with a racial fantasy: the so-called Hamitic hypothesis.

Longffince discredited, it held that all civilized” institutions in central Africa were the result of an invasion by Hamites, variously identified as ‘black Caucasians’ and African-Aryans, observes Rakiya.”

The scholar adds that, “Prior to European colonization, Rwanda was the site of one of the region’s most complex monarchical systems”.

Indeed, it was not easy to manipulate the Rwandans the way European colonisers wanted. The same reasons (above) explain the colonialists fear of attaining effective administration in the ancient Rwandan society. This can be evidenced again in their various speeches and utterances.

For example, if you analyse the letter dated 21st September 1927, Monsignor Leon Paul Classe wrote to George Morteham, the Belgian Colonial Resident Commissioner and the one he wrote in 1930, issuing a stern warning to the colonial government, you will find out how the colonialists were busy sowing the seeds of discord in the Rwandan society under the guise of the so called Hamitic hypothesis. They used similar utterances to turn tables the way they wanted to the detriment of the Rwandan people.

It could have been true (and indeed it was) that the Rwanda’s administrative structure was so organised, that its leadership could not have been imagined to be Rwandan. This kind of misconception and arrogance born of ignorance characterised the European colonisers. They expected all African societies to be disorganised and very primitive. This is why they claim to have brought civilisation in Africa.

That is why for instance, they claim to have discovered all that was already in places where African people lived. Take an example of the ‘famous’ Explorer, John Hanning Speke and others who were the ancient promoters of the racial hypothesis. He (Speke) claims to have discovered almost everything that was already part of the Africans’ daily life. How do you claim to have discovered L. Victoria for example?

It could not have been known to the Europeans, but known to the Africans who lived very close to it. Remember that Speke Hanning is also believed to have created the Hamitic hypothesis, the ideological basis for the Rwandan genocide.

It is this Hamitic hypothesis that qualified the Tutsi as a lost tribe of Ham who migrated from Ethiopia and hence a foreigner who is not supposed to live above the ground in Rwanda.

Furthermore, it is against this background that extremists like Léon Mugesera picked up to announce an apocalypse.
Léon Mugesera in one of his extra-ordinary speeches affirmed that; “the Tutsi came from Ethiopia and we are going to find them a short cut (Inzira y’ubusamo) to there, by throwing them into the Nyabarongo river (the source of the Nile).

Léon Mugesera thus legitimised the Hamitic Ideology, and successfully incited the Hutu to send the Tutsi “back to Ethiopia” through River Nyabarongo.

“Corpses float on their way to Ethiopia”.

On Saturday May 10th, Rwanda commemorated the Tutsi victims who were thrown in different lakes and rivers during the 1994 genocide. The event took place near Lake Muhazi in the Eastern Province.

It was a special commemoration because; whereas other victims where able to be re-buried decently, those who were drowned never got the chance.

And yet, very many Tutsi were drowned in the water bodies so that they may ‘swim –straight’ to Ethiopia via the Nyaborongo River. After the announcement of an apocalypse by Léon Mugesera, R. Nyabarongo started ‘serving its purpose’.

“We the people are obliged to take responsibility ourselves and wipe out this scum. Their home is Ethiopia,” affirmed Leon Mugesera, the then vice president of MRND.

However, it was not only the Nyabarongo River that the killers used; they were ‘ignorantly’ convinced that all roads led to Rome and hence used any water body that was near them.

That is why we saw many Tutsi drowned in L. Muhazi and other lakes and rivers in the country. What they had internalised is ‘water transport to Ethiopia’ and they could not wait to use only the Nyabarongo.

“I spent five days in the waters of Lake Muhazi drinking water that was mixed with blood to survive. I could see some blood sports floating on water, but I had to drink it to keep alive”, Mulisa a survivor, said causing tears to flow on cheeks of those who had turned for the event.

He added that, “I saw Interahamwe militia chopping a kid and parts of the body were dropped into the lake. Then the Interahame left shouting happily that fish was going to feed on a Tutsi’s fresh”. This statement caused trauma to many survivors who were rushed to the nearby counselling room.

Victims were tortured, maimed, tied up (arms and legs), etcetera and then thrown into rivers. This was mostly done to make sure that they do not swim out.

And finally, when they (the killers) saw the bodies floating on L. Victoria, they were all smiles as the Tutsi were indeed ‘heading to Ethiopia’.

An apocalypse was in the making and a revelation of Leon Mugesera’s will recorded in the name of Satan and certainly not according to the book of Daniel.

Contact: mugitoni@yahoo.com

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