Portal:Rwanda

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Introduction

Flag of Rwanda.svg

Rwanda (/ruˈɑːndə, -ˈæn-/ (About this soundlisten); Kinyarwanda: U Rwanda [u.ɾɡwaː.nda] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Republic of Rwanda (Kinyarwanda: Repubulika y'u Rwanda; Swahili: Jamhuri ya Rwanda; French: République du Rwanda), is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.

The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people descended from Rwanda's earliest inhabitants. Scholars disagree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi; some believe differences are derived from former social castes within a single people, while others believe the Hutu and Tutsi arrived in the country separately, and from different locations. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with English and French serving as additional official languages. The sovereign state of Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighbouring countries, although human rights organisations report suppression of opposition groups, intimidation and restrictions on freedom of speech. The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since precolonial times; there are five provinces delineated by borders drawn in 2006. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament.

Selected panorama

Ruli Vista dels volcans Virunga.jpg
Credit: Josep Azuara

The Virunga Mountains.

Selected article

Lake Kivu shore at Gisenyi.jpg

Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine (western) Rift, a part of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.

The lake covers a total surface area of some 2,700 km2 (1,040 sq mi) and stands at a height of 1,460 metres (4,790 ft) above sea level. The lake bed sits upon a rift valley that is slowly being pulled apart, causing volcanic activity in the area, and making it particularly deep: its maximum depth of 480 m (1,575 ft) is ranked fifteenth in the world. The lake is surrounded by majestic mountains. (Read more...)

Selected image

Intore 7.jpg
Credit: Fanny Schertzer

An Intore dancer in Rwanda.

Did you know ...

  • ...that Rusumo Falls was a significant site during the 1994 Rwandan genocide as thousands of dead bodies flowed underneath the bridge while a simultaneous stream of refugees crossed over it, fleeing into Tanzania to escape the fighting?


Did you know?



Selected biography

Alison Des Forges.jpg

Alison Des Forges (née Liebhafsky) (August 20, 1942 – February 12, 2009) was an African historian and human rights activist who specialized in the African Great Lakes region, particularly the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. At the time of her death, she was a senior advisor for the African continent at Human Rights Watch. She specialized in the African Great Lakes region and studied the Rwandan Genocide. She was also an authority on human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Burundi. Des Forges left academia in 1994 in response to the Rwandan Genocide, to work full time on human rights. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1999, and became the senior advisor at Human Rights Watch for the African continent.

(Read more...)

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