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“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. "
― Hunter S. Thompson

#Kwibohora26 #IzUrugamba
The following is a #Thread entitled #IzUrugamba; Songs and Chants that were part of the #Kwibohora Struggle. Their role in defining the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)'s ideology;
- What they were fighting for
- Who they depicted themselves as
- Who they depicted as their enemy
- Their relationship with the international community

All the above also showing how that same ideology is reflected in the Post-Genocide life, TODAY.

This #Thread will have as reference:
" Ideology and interests in the Rwandan patriotic front: Singing the struggle in pre-genocide Rwanda" by Benjamin Chemouni (Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College) and Assumpta Mugiraneza (Co-Founder and Director of IRIBA Center for Multimedia Heritage) published by
Oxford University Press.

It will also shuffle around 5 songs ( that i hope could be on your #IzUrugamba by the time you finish reading this.

1. Inkotanyi duhuje amarembo | Inkotanyi duhuje amarembo by Indahemuka troupe in 1991–92
2. Iya Mbere Ukwakira | October 1st by RPF fighters in 1990–92
3. Turaje | We are on our way to you by Women’s group from the diaspora in 1990–92
4. Ndate Ubutwari Bw’inkotanyi \ Let me celebrate the heroism of Inkontanyi by Indahemuka troupe or RPF fighters in 1991–93
5. RPF Turatashye \ RPF we are coming back home by RPF fighters in 1990–91

( Feel free to ask me for youtube links later).

Before diving in it is important to understand why "SONGS"
the article i mentioned earlier mentions 2 main reasons;
First, they occupied a central place in the strong apparatus of political education. They were essential to the ikitamaduni, an evening gathering of singing and dancing organized by political commissars. Soldiers could spontaneously break into a song
whether to promise an exemplary punishment to President Juvénal Habyarimana, recount the feats of recent battles, or celebrate the return to the motherland. But it went beyond that, people were emotionally attached to this, Audio tapes circulated covertly between families
and were smuggled in and out of the country to foster nostalgia for the past and hope of return for those who had fled Rwanda since the 1950s following the anti-Tutsi pogroms.
Secondly, songs are traditionally a crucial form of artistic expression in Rwanda.
The Rwandan culture is a culture of words.
My mentor always says " If you want to understand a Rwandan , listen to his songs/ poetry."
This, I believe explains the approach of looking songs and chants to understand the #Inkotanyi's true spirit.

Now If you allow let's start!
1st thing to look at in the #IzUrugamba songs is " What was RPF #Inkotanyi really fighting for?" From the songs on our playlist and many more you will realize their HIGHEST goal was " RWANDAN's UNITY"
They were literally obsessed by it.
What is interesting is they never considered it as something to be created by the Front, but merely reinstated. It constitutes an immanent characteristic of Rwanda that was waiting to be fully recovered.

part of the Lyrics: Inkotanyi duhuje amarembo
Tugamije ubumwe bwo kururenganura,
(Our only goal is unity, which will end injustice)
Tugaruye urukundo ruzira uburyarya na gato,
(We bring back the true love that leaves no room for hypocrisy)
Dufatanyije twese n’Imana y’u Rwanda,
(We are rallying around the God of Rwanda)
Ni yo yaduhaye kutaruzimiza,
(It is He that gave us the mission to never let the country disappear)
Yahaye urubyiruko kuruharanira,
(He gave the youth the mission to fight for her)
Intego dutanze ni ukurugira u Rwanda
(Our only declared objective is to give her back her title.)
Rutatse iryo tuze n’amahoro adakuka
(A Rwanda full of serenity and lasting peace)
Tukarugira ikirezi kirera Abanyarwanda
(Let’s make her a marvel that raises Rwandans with care)

Another bit of the song says" Inyabatatu nziza ari yo muco-karande ,Gihanga w’iwacu yasize aturaze,
Maze Urwatubyaye rugire amahoro.

This excerpt addresses the issue of ethnicity, evoking the ‘fraternal trinity’ (inyabatatu), a reference to Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa, which constitutes a ‘patrimonial pact’, i.e. descended from the same ancestor.
On the same #IzUrugamba playlist, there is "- RPF TURAGUSHYIGIKIYE"

Part of the Lyrics:
Abanyarwanda b’I Rwanda, bo mu mahanga,
(Rwandans, living in Rwanda or abroad)
Ubwoko bwacu twese turi Abanyarwanda.
(Our only identity/ethnicity is that we all Rwandans)
Last song on this bit, still from our #IzUrugamba playlist;

Part of the Lyrics: Baje basanga duturanye kandi dukundana,
(They found us living in loving neighbourliness)
Bababazwa n’uko babuze aho bamenera.
(And were furious that they could not separate us)
Baduhimbira inkomoko bana b’u Rwanda,
(So they invented phony origins for the Children of Rwanda)
Bamwe ngo bava muri Chad abandi Ethiopia,
(Saying some came from Chad, and others from Ethiopia)

All this clearly pictures RDF #Inkotanyi's belief in what they were there to do.
The analysis of these lyrics reveals that the RPF’s ideology of unity, as articulated in songs, has survived the genocide virtually unaltered, and has influenced major policy decisions in post-genocide Rwanda, the quest to rediscover our “Rwandan-ness” as exemplified

2nd Main thing to look at while dissecting the songs from our #IzUrugamba playlist is " Who the RPF #Inkotanyi presented themselves as and who they depicted as their enemy"
The songs depict the RPF as an inclusive movement by presenting it with a multi-ethnic face and minimizing its Tutsi-dominated nature.
QUICK example from one song from the #IzUrugamba playlist: "Iya mbere Ukwakira"

Part of the Lyrics:
Twikoza Ruhengeri tubohora ababoshye
(We went to Ruhengeri and liberated prisoners)
Abenshi bo muri bo bataha mu Inkotanyi
(Most of them joined the ranks of Inkotanyi)
Nka majoro Lizinde, komanda Biseruka,
(Including Major Lizinde, Commandant Biseruka)
Muvunanyambo n’abandi
(Muvunanyambo and many more)
Oye Inkotanyi

This song reminds listeners that some of Habyarimana’s senior officers ‘joined the #Inkotanyi
The song " TURAJE" from our #IzUrugamba playlist emphasizes that the RPF not an alien movement that retains loyalty to the countries its members and supporters had settled in. Indeed, they ‘leave definitely foreign countries,’ ‘without leaving anything behind’
Because they ‘miss Rwanda so much.’ The returnees ask to be ‘recognized as children of the same father’. In addition, the #Inkotanyi give guarantees of their unwillingness to take revenge: they come back ‘not to loot’, ‘without hatred in [their] heart’ and with ‘no resentment.
Instead, they want to ‘join forces’ to ‘work for the future of Rwanda’ and ‘genuine progress’.

Yet, the enemy here is the enemy only insofar as they have been fooled by Habyarimana. The war and the genocide are the results of the stubbornness of the other side.
The self-proclaimed nickname of Habyarimana, Ikinani, or the ‘invincible one’, is used to ridicule him and show his absurdity.

Here are a few lyrics from our #IzUrugamba playlist that emphasize on who the #Inkotanyi
Habyarimana mugaragu w’abazungu,
(Habyarimana, you white people’s lackey)
U Rwanda rwacu ntabwo ari ikimoteri.
(Our beloved Rwanda is not a trash dump)

These ideas of an inclusive and expert RPF fighting an enemy that is not the entire HUTU population, but a manipulative elite,
Has impacted how the RPF defined problems and policies in the post-genocide era.(lyrics do not feature hatred of the enemy nor do they use a degrading language of dehumanization and animalization that Hutu power resorted to in its media to designate the RPF, its supporters,
And more generally the Tutsi).

Last thing that the #IzUrugamba playlist and all the other #Kwibohora songs can show us is " #Inkotanyi's relationship with the international community"
There is no one that has ever claimed their roots as much as the #Inkotanyi did. from references to traditional practices of warfare to a strong idealization of the pre-colonial Rwanda.

#IzUrugamba's very own REKA NDATE UBUTWARI BW’INKOTANYI for instance,
The decision to attack on 1 October 1990 is recounted as follows:
Imihigo imaze gukomera
(When the challenges set reached their highest level)
Inkotanyi ziti twararahiye
(The Inkotanyi declared: “we took an oath”)
Inzira ya loni irazigura
(The endless UN [United Nations] way never succeeds’)
Ku manywa y’ihangu twari twambutse.
(So, in broad daylight, we just crossed the border)

Alongside praising the traditional in story telling they also strongly championed the "ANTI-IMPERIALISM" thought
In “RPF TURATASHYE” from our #IzUrugamba playlist; Ni umuzungu wabiteye bana b’u Rwanda,
Agira ngo abone icyanzu cyo kudusahura

Baje basanga duturanye kandi dukundana,
Bababazwa n’uko babuze aho bamenera.
Baduhimbira inkomoko bana b’u Rwanda,
Bamwe ngo bava muri Chad abandi Ethiopia,

Inkotanyi turabyanze bana b’u Rwanda,
Twiyemeje kumurwanya no kumuhashya

None turaritswe twese bana b’u Rwanda
Ngo duhuze imbaraga zacu twubake u Rwanda.
The external world was blamed for the fate of Rwanda. Habyarimana is the lackey of westerners, a neo-colonial tool in the hands of his ‘patrons’. He is regularly ridiculed for calling his white masters for help when in difficulty,
Quick reference again from #IzUrugamba playlist in “IYA MBERE UKWAKIRA”
Ingabo za Muvoma ubwo zirahurura
(The armies of the Movement [Habyarimana’s MRND ruling party] came running)
Zidukubise amaso zikizwa namaguru.
(When they saw us, they immediately ran for their lives)
Habyarimana nawe yirukanka ibihugu,
(Habyarimana roamed foreign countries)
Atakira abazungu ngo bamuhururire
(Crying in front of the whites for them to rescue him)

Westerners are also blamed for their misunderstanding of the refugees’ situation,
Abazungu bafata ibitabo
(The whites took to their books)
Ngo batangire bige iyo ntambara
(To try to understand this war)
his echoes the colonizers’ misunderstanding of Rwandan culture and people,
which led them for instance to ‘invent [Rwandans] origins’ as put in RPF, RPF TURATASHYE.

The RPF’s idealization of precolonial times along with its anti-imperialism have had clear ramifications in terms of problem definition and policy ideas after the genocide.
We hope you enjoyed this analysis of #IzUrugamba. Our deepest thanks go to Benjamin Chemouni and Assumpta Mugiraneza who did the impressive work of analyzing these songs from the 1988-1994 period.
We highly encourage you to visit IRIBA Center and learn more about this and many more aspects of our country’s history.


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