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Hutu and Tutsi

Among the best known hill tribes of Africa are the Hutus and the Tutsis of Rwanda. Rwanda is a tiny landlocked densely populated country in East Central Africa, located south of Uganda, between Tanzania and Zaire. With Lake Kiva in the West and the highlands bordering the Rift Valley rising to 4,507 m (14,787 ft) at Mount Karisimbi (‘pearl’ in the local language) and temperatures ranging between 13 and 24°C (55 and 75°F) Rwanda has been called the ‘Switzerland of Africa’ because of its scenic beauty.

The Bantu-speaking Hutus are cultivators who form about 89% of the population of Rwanda. They have larger noses and facial features than the Tutsis and are of short stature. The Tutsis, related to the Masai and the people along the Nile, are seldom less than six feet tall and nowadays form only about 10% of the population of Rwanda.

The relatively wealthy Tutsis, who migrated to Rwanda and Burundi in the early sixteenth century, were mainly animal stockbreeders. They soon became the ruling class and forced the Hutus into virtual serf hood. Many centuries later, the Hutus rebelled and forced the king of the Tutsis to flee. The relation between the two tribes has largely stabilized since then with establishment of constitutional rule.

About half of the total population of Rwanda is Roman Catholic and apart from about 1% Muslims, the rest follow their tribal religion, in which the Imana is the supreme principle of good. Most Rwandans are farmers. Hutus live on cooked bananas, maize and millet, while Tutsis live on dairy products and agricultural products raised by the Hutu.

 

 

 
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