The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.

27 July 2010

Jacqueline Kalimunda’s Rwanda

My Rwanda by Jacqueline Kalimunda (Simba Notes)

The figures show a glimpse of the horror that hit Rwanda in 1994. One million people killed in one hundred days. One million people killed in a population of 8 million. Just because one part of the population feels Hutu and another one feels Tutsi.

I was born and lived my childhood and teenage years in Rwanda and the horror that Rwanda went through strikes me as much as the paradox of this situation.

Indeed anyone who has lived in Rwanda has tales of friendship and love between some members of the 2 communities as much as tales of hatred and segregation. So what happened for so many Rwandans to be transformed into killers ? One million dead… How many killers ? How many watchers ?

Furthermore as much as it seems so obvious to point out the Hutus from the Tutsis, if you ask anyone in Rwanda or elsewhere to show you who is Hutu, who is Tutsi, many, if not all, will confuse the too. Especially since everyone speaks the same language, has the same culture and live in the same areas. Identity cards – with ethnic groups marked on - were not always asked at the barriers where many were killed. So how did the killers manage to separate, isolate and massacre 10,000 people a day ? How did they know who was who ? By the length of the nose ?

On the other hand let’s not be naïve, it does seem that, although Rwandans are known to be rather calm people, they have always had to express any change in society or in politics by shedding blood : 1959, 1963, 1973, 1979, 1994. When I was preparing this film in Rwanda I looked for people who had personal viewpoints based on their own life’s experiences. People with different opinions, who were ready to confront with opposing arguments.

So welcome for a journey with strong minded companions, in a beautiful land of
violence, extreme beliefs and wicked politics… my homeland.

NOTE: The video begins with an interview with Jacqueline Kalimunda 0:00-4:18 and continues with Safi Faye (who was featured on this Vlog on 26 May 2010) thus the screen image of Safi Faye.

Festimage 32nd Festival International de Films de Femmes 2-11 April 2010
Interview with Jacqueline Kalimunda regarding her film "Homeland" (2005)

Translation from French to English by Beti Ellerson


Hello everyone and welcome to this third day of the

International Women’s Film Festival. The Festimage Team,

always on the scene of action, has brought together a program full of interesting people to meet.

On the green hills of Kigali, the storm threatens to strike while Rwanda recalls the genocide ten years before

During that time Jacqueline Kalimunda was twenty years old and had just lost her father.

Her very politically-committed film was screened Saturday with her in attendance, she joins us in our studio.

From film excerpt:

What is a serpent?

What is a serpent?

Jacqueline Kalimunda:

I am Jacqueline Kalimunda, filmmaker of the documentary Homeland.

I am Rwandan and I was born in Rwanda and spent

my childhood and adolescence there.

It was very important to give a voice to the people

who I know in Rwanda

At the same time speak about myself and what I know of Rwanda

of what my parents have taught me about the country and also

what I have learned in books and in the media.

What bothers me a bit is that most people who speak about

Rwanda have only discovered it as a result of the genocide

and their vision, as far as I am concerned,

lacks a certain depth

as it relates to the whole history of Rwanda before,

and the people who live there

and perhaps also, they don’t have the emotional attachment

that I have for the country.

I try to retain a lesson rather than the images,

and to be sensitive to the fact that when one begins to accept discrimination,

that certain people are put to the side

and others are given preference; and when one accepts

a murder here, a massacre there,

it can develop into something absolutely horrible.

The Shoa and the Rwandan genocide are both genocides

yet different

I think that European history before the Shoa

may have ties to what happened in Rwanda at the same period.

Undoubtedly I am now very sensitive to all forms of discrimination,

incomprehension and division in society.

I am aware of the possible consequences.

Even within a society such as Rwanda,

a country where everyone speaks the same language,

has the same culture.

Of course there are historical differences

and this is what I wanted to show through the film.



"Ma quête consistait à essayer de comprendre."/ "My quest is to try to understand." An interview with Jacqueline Kalimunda in French by Viviane Azariane (Africultures)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Relevant comments are welcome - Les discussions constructives sont les bienvenues