A team of academics entrusted with the work of revising Rwanda’s history has completed its work.
The academics were tasked by government to make changes to the history that had been manipulated to serve the interests of those who had authored it along ethic lines.
The team, made up of eight local dons , says it has already submitted the draft to the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), which will have to discuss it with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Education, before its final publication.
“We must follow up closely because we don’t want any more manipulation,” said Professor Deo Byanafashe, head of the team that researched and compiled data for the draft historical book.
Rwanda’s history has for the last fifteen years been criticized basing on the way it was written and taught.
Several scholars have advanced an argument that it emerged from the colonialists thus misrepresenting the fabric of Rwanda’s society.
President Paul Kagame criticized history books and media of having continued to “show Rwanda more-or-less in its past,” saying that mainly Belgian writers, who have a wide range of documentation about Rwanda, have been viewing Rwandan community through racial lenses like their fellow colonial administrators.
Byanafashe who is also a professor at the National University of Rwanda promised that his team’s work has avoided manipulation and will have more credibility because of their research methodology.
“During the exercise, we applied the ‘historic critique’ methodology,” said the linguist, explaining that the method consists of collecting information through readings and gathering testimonies, and then apply a critical analysis of the findings before drawing conclusions.
It is unclear how long it would take to get the final publication that will also need to be translated into English since the findings are in Kinyarwanda and French.
Though the whole project will cost an unspecified amount, the exercise has so far consumed about Rwf 30m according to Byanafashe.