Rwanda: Top Films and Books to Help You Understand the Liberation Day

Rwandans celebrated the 27th Liberation Day on July 4. It is a day where Rwandans look through the past and reflect the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) as the heroes that liberated the country and as well as endeavour for development.

The New Times compiled some films and books that can help you get more information regarding the Rwandan liberation.


The 600 - Documentary film

Released in 2019, the film by Great Blue Productions was produced by Richard Hall.

This film tells a story of a surrounded battalion at the parliamentary building that started the counterattack to end the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

In April of 1994, 600 men and women of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) were stationed behind government lines in Kigali, as a security force for politicians negotiating a coalition government. Instead, after extremists assassinated their own president, a full scale, pre-meditated slaughter began of moderate Hutus and all Tutsi civilians, and The 600 were their only hope.

In Kigali, the government forces numbered around 10,000, and were assisted by civilian militia of an even greater number. Nevertheless, the 600 received orders to hold out, launch counter attacks, and rescue as many civilians as they could.

After 4 days of intense fighting, RPA reinforcements arrived, and the battle to end the Genocide continued. During 100 days of combat, the 600 saw their own families killed, the ruthless slaughter of innocents, and came up with innovative ways to rescue masses of people under the nose of the Government's army and militia. Yet, they managed to rescue thousands of civilians.

INTORE - documentary film - 2014

A film by Eric Kabera, produced by Rwanda Cinema Centre, and Park Hill Entertainment in Association with the Kwetu Film Institute & the Rwanda Media Project.

This documentary offers a powerful and rare look at how Rwanda survived its tragic past by regaining its identity through music, dance, and the resilience of a new generation. It's a story of triumph, survival, hope, and a lesson in how to forgive and live, through the eyes of a mother whose grief gives hope; an artist who chose to forgive rather than seek revenge; a maestro who brings together the National Ballet with an incredible touch of genius; and a young man whose determination and hard work has given the Rwandan culture a new dimension of identity and celebration.

Through these characters and others, viewers bear witness to how the nation rose above the ashes of a horrific 1994 genocide, to become a world model of post-conflict peace and unity. The film features music performances from Rwanda's top traditional and commercial artists in music and dance, interwoven with poignant interviews from genocide survivors and perpetrators who sit side-by-side; plus, Rwandan leaders, legends, and Hollywood elite.

Inkotanyi - documentary film - 2017

A film by Christophe Cotteret. This film sets out to understand and share the basis of the political and ideological discipline of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). The documentary's producer makes an effort to understand and explain why RPA liberators stand out from other liberation movements and what has made efforts of their struggle sustainable.

Cotteret sets out to uncover what drove the young men who were untrained, unequipped, unpaid and outnumbered to stand against the then genocidal government and French forces.

The documentary (which is in French with English subtitles) tells of the dreams and ambitions of what the producer termed as the "best trained and most disciplined rebellion on the African continent who put to an end the last genocide of the 20th century."

The filmmaker's narration is facilitated by interviews with President Paul Kagame, President Yoweri Museveni, Faustin Kagame, James Kabarebe, Denis Polis, Tito Rutaremara, and Patrick Mazimhaka among others. There are also features by some of the then perpetrators and supporters of the former regime


Inzira y'inzitane yo Kwibohora kw'abanyarwanda

A Kinyarwanda language book by the late Logan Ndahiro, it is loosely translated to mean 'the difficult journey of the liberation of Rwandans'. In this book, the author gives a detailed account of the RPF-led campaign to liberate Rwanda.

Ndahiro joined the former Rwanda Patriotic Army (later renamed Rwanda Defence Force) on October 5, 1990 in the early days of the liberation struggle. He retired from the military in 2001. He passed on October 30, 2019 at King Faisal Hospital Kigali. He was a Member of Parliament.

Rwanda: Rebuilding of a Nation

Edited by Alfred and Joseph Rwagatare, the book takes the reader through a sweeping panorama of Rwanda's history, from its recent past as a near-failed state to its present as a beacon of hope and successful innovations. Rwanda's rise from the ashes detailed in this book is the culmination of a visionary and laborious process of rebuilding a nation from the brink of collapse. It is also a story of reconciling people that had been taught to see each other as enemies.

The book shows that Rwanda's achievements have been possible because the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)'s development agenda is built on power-sharing, consensus-building, gender equality and the primacy of security.

To Rwanda and Back: Liberation, Spirituality and Reconciliation

Authored by Mary C. Grey, this book is about a celebrated feminist theologian whose work has always sought pathways of healing and hope. When she visited Rwanda, Mary Grey's shattering experience led to a re-examination of her understanding of justice and reconciliation. The result is a remarkable book that magically weaves personal narrative with theological insight.

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