Defeat Is the Only Bad News: Rwanda under Musinga, 1896-1931 by Alison Des Forges, David Newbury, Roger Des Forges

By Alison Des Forges, David Newbury, Roger Des Forges

A Rwandan proverb says “Defeat is the one undesirable news.” For Rwandans dwelling less than colonial rule, successful known as not just for armed war of words, but in addition for a conflict of wits—and not just with foreigners, but additionally with one another. In Defeat Is the single undesirable News Alison Des Forges recounts the pursuits, ideas, and intrigues of an African royal court docket below Yuhi Musinga, the Rwandan ruler from 1896 to 1931. those have been turbulent years for Rwanda, whilst first Germany after which Belgium pursued an competitive plan of colonization there. on the time of the Europeans’ arrival, Rwanda used to be additionally engaged in a succession dispute after the dying of 1 of its most famed kings. by contrast backdrop, the Rwandan court docket grew to become the degree for a drama of Shakespearean proportions, choked with deceit, sensible calculation, ruthless betrayal, and infrequently murder.

            Historians who learn eu growth usually specialise in interactions among colonizers and colonized; they hardly ever attend to kinfolk one of the various factions inhabiting occupied lands. Des Forges, drawing on oral histories and large archival study, finds how divisions between various teams in Rwanda formed their responses to colonial governments, missionaries, and investors. Rwandans, she indicates, used eu assets to increase their strength, at the same time they sought to maintain the autonomy of the royal court docket. Europeans, for his or her half, seized on inner divisions to boost their very own pursuits. Des Forges’s vividly narrated background, meticulously edited and brought through David Newbury, presents a deep context for knowing the Rwandan civil struggle a century later.
 

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Extra resources for Defeat Is the Only Bad News: Rwanda under Musinga, 1896-1931

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Associated with these ritualists, it is said, a new drum was crafted—as the symbol of royalty. In short, Ruganzu’s reign is associated with the conjunction of eastern and western components, with the convergence of the military and ritual components, and with the construction of royalty itself. This period—the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries—is when the kingdom began to take on the geographical, military, and ritual dimensions we associate with it today. A second period of growth was associated with the reign of Cyilima Rujugira, in the mid-eighteenth century.

However, the priests at Save, who frequently dealt directly with the central Court and who relied on the Court to help expand missionary influence, saw the issues differently. Their support of the actions of Court-appointed chiefs put them in opposition to their fellow priests in Gisaka. By tracing out this conflict Des Forges in chapter 3 unveils two more general features of Court expansion: the conflict it evoked within the missionary order, and the long, slow, and sometimes contested process by which local inhabitants—with their own histories, their own resources, and their own loyalties—were incorporated into the Nyiginya administrative grid.

Their support of the actions of Court-appointed chiefs put them in opposition to their fellow priests in Gisaka. By tracing out this conflict Des Forges in chapter 3 unveils two more general features of Court expansion: the conflict it evoked within the missionary order, and the long, slow, and sometimes contested process by which local inhabitants—with their own histories, their own resources, and their own loyalties—were incorporated into the Nyiginya administrative grid. In the event, this particular conflict was resolved only by the involvement of German administrative officers.

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