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Rwanda: The Death and Resurrection of a Nation

Author: Mats Tunehag
Date: 13.12.2011
Category: Reconciliation, Workplace Ministry, Business as Mission

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Originally Posted in English

Unfortunately Africa is often associated with words with negative connotations: corruption, aids, donor fatigue, genocide, bad governance, colonialism, malaria, slavery, famine, poverty, civil wars, blood diamonds, et cetera.

A trillion dollar of aid has not raised the continent out of poverty. A corrupt leader like Mugabe has changed a country from a breadbasket of a region to a basket case. Rwanda experienced a horrific genocide in 1994 where up to one million people were killed in about 100 days. The negative examples above do not fully or fairly reflect Africa as a whole. Many African countries are now experiencing economic growth, peace and reconciliation, and there are increasing foreign investments, and so forth.

But sub-Saharan Africa is still lagging behind in many ways, especially when one compares with Asian countries. Singapore was transformed from a poor swampland to one of the most prosperous countries in the world in about 50 years. Can such a thing happen in Africa?

I visited Rwanda in October and I venture to say that Rwanda is growing to become a beacon of hope for Africa and the world. Today Rwanda is one of the safest, least corrupt and most progressive nations in Africa. Only 17 years ago the country was devastated through the genocide.**

Let me share a few brief observations on what I believe are some essential contributing factors to the transformation of Rwanda. For the Western mindset let me give you a few bullet points first and then a few glimpses to illustrate those:

  1. God is at work
  2. Visionary leadership serving with integrity and professionalism
  3. Unity and reconciliation process rebuilding the social fabric
  4. The development of a 21st century infrastructure
  5. The creation of an environment conducive for business development in a globalised world

The genocide was evil beyond human comprehension. One cannot even try to explain it without recognizing the evil forces which are beyond our secular horizons. Likewise we cannot fully appreciate the transformation of the nation, the unity and reconciliation processes, unless we acknowledge God at work.

But we also need to recognize the importance of good leadership; people with vision, integrity and professionalism. No one is perfect but President Kagame has served the nation well.

I met with so many unusually gifted leaders – African and others – who are serving the people of Rwanda. Bishop John Rucyahana was one of them. One may liken him to Desmund Tutu of South Africa. A must read is the book “The Bishop of Rwanda”. I also met his successor Bishop Mbanda who also is a “larger-than-life-kind-of-person”.

Bishop John, some American friends and I talked about how to rebuild the social fabric in a society so devastated by mass killings. Bishop John has led the work of unity and reconciliation, which is a key to the resurrection of the nation. We need to be mindful of the lack of such processes between peoples in other countries and regions, like in the Balkans, where hatred has been passed on from generation to generation for over 600 years.

Keywords: Rwanda, genocide, Africa, transformation, aid, business as mission, market place, reconciliation

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Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down DJRobbyRob (0)
United States

Forgive me if I’m reading too much between the lines but this is a perfect example of what happens when God’s reconciliation begins impacting a nation and the church is helping to lead in that effort. For many Americans, all we hear about Rwanda is about the tragedy that occurred in 1994, it even becomes the focus of many political science classes. However, we don’t hear about the hope and the progress that is being made. I wonder if news like this got out more often would it inspire others, particularly Christians, to go out and bring reconciliation and their local communities, state, or even countries?

Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down sbrigg02111 (0)
United States

I am thankful I ran across this article. I think even now in 2014, that there is great misconception on the progress nature of many African nations. Admittedly, when I think of Rwanda, I think of a country that is still going through genocide and war, and is still stuck in a less progress era than the rest of the world. I am grateful to read that the leadership of that particular nation is making strides in bringing peace and reconciliation to their country, and that they are empowering visions of restoration and healing. This makes me hopeful for all war-torn nations, and sets an example that I think the US should adhere to.

Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down bubbles (0)
United States

How does one respond to millions of deaths, and genocide of one million people killed in 100 days? Knowing that God is at work gives hope. Even though there was much bloodshed in Rwanda, the blood of Jesus brings reconciliation, hope and unity. I praise God for the leadership that is now in place in Rwanda to rebuild the society that was so devastated by the mass killings

Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Veda_Ram (0)

I  am just wondering how millions  that suffered and committed such atrocities could fuse togther for change..If that’s not GOD at work, what is?


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