Topic outline

  • General


    Process of collecting Historical information


     Sub-Topic Area 1:  Concepts of History and Historical Research


    Unit 1:  Historical sources 

    Definition of History

    Activity 1.1

    Using the internet and a dictionary, research on the definitions of History.


    You probably remember your childhood friend you liked playing with. You may also remember your first day in school. Some people may remember the name of their first class teachers. Such a collection of information about our past forms our history. History is a subject that deals with the study of people’s way of life in the past.

    Through the study of History, we are able to appreciate people’s past. We can also make informed decisions about the present and devise ways of improving the future.

    Sources of Historical information

    These include the following:

     (i) Oral tradition

     (ii) Written sources 

    (iii) Electronic sources (Audio-visual sources) 

    (iv) Archaeology 

    (v) Linguistics 

    (vi) Anthropology 

    (vii) Genetics 

    Each of these sources of historical information has been discussed below.

    (i) Oral tradition 

    Activity 1.2

    Narrate short stories, one student at a time. After that tell your colleagues where you got the story from. 

    That process of telling information by word of mouth is called oral tradition. It is one method of collecting historical information.

    Oral tradition is defined as any information passed by word of mouth (verbally) from one generation to another. This is done through socialisation especially between the young and the old.

    Oral traditions may be in form of songs, stories, legends, poems and proverbs of people’s past. It is based on eyewitness accounts about an event.

    Oral traditions are transmitted mostly by traditionalists, old men and old women. These people have a wide knowledge about history, medicine, administration, technology and culture of their societies.

       Fig. 1.1: Oral tradition as a source of History

    (ii) Written sources 

    They include books, non published documents, letters, dailies, magazines, journals, inscriptions on coins and newspapers. Among the earliest written records was the ‘Periplus of the Erythrean Sea’. It was written by an unknown Greek. 

    Activity 1.3

    1.Get any two or more newspapers.

     a) Find the dates and the publishers of the newspapers. 

     b) Read at least one article from each newspaper.

     2. Give a summary of each article.

    Fig. 1.2: Written sources of History

    (iii) Electronic sources (Audio-visual sources)

    These include the use of modern technology such as mobile phones, radios, television, cinemas and the internet. 

    Fig. 1.3: A television set

    Activity 1.4 

    Have you ever watched a television programme about wildlife? 

    (a) Briefly describe what you saw in the movie. 

     (b) State how the movie is related to the following subjects: 

    • Geography 

    • Biology 

    Getting information through seeing and hearing is what we call audio-visual.   It is one of the ways through which historical information is collected.

    It also deals with obtaining information by listening to or watching other devices. It is one of the modern sources of information.

    (iv) Archaeology

    It refers to the study of dug up materials or material remains of people’s past. Ryamurari is one of the archaelogical sites in our country. It is located in Bufunda Village, Bufunda Cell, Mukama Sector, Nyagatare District in Eastern Province.

    Activity 1.5 

    1. Visit the website of the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda to find out more about the archaelogical site mentioned above.

     2. Find out from other books that have the History of Rwanda, other archaelogical sites in other parts of our country. 

    3. Draw a map of Rwanda to show the above mentioned archaeological site.


    As a way of conserving the environment, places of historical importance need to be protected. Such places can be used to generate income to the locals and to the government. This can be achieved through tourism.

    (v) Linguistics

    Activity 1.6 

    1. Pronounce the following words in your local language:

     • Teacher

     • Chalk 

    • Computer

     •      Class

     • Family

     2. Identify the similarities and differences in the pronunciations of the given words.

    Linguistics deals with the study and analysis of languages, their sound,  evolution structure and formation. It also deals with the relationship between various languages. From these studies, one can conclude that people of the same language may have been in contact. For example, Bantu language has common words linked to ‘NTU’. That indicates that they may share a common historical origin.


    Even when all of you have a common local language, the pronunciations of words may differ. This is because of where each of you was born. In spite of all this, the meaning remains the same. Language is a unifying factor among people. This is because they can understand each other, can relate well and solve any issues that may arise amongst them. This promotes peace in the long run.

    (vi) Anthropology 

    This is the study of the existing social institutions and relationships of people’s cultures, traditions, norms, values and attitudes. It deals with the study of how societies were established. It also deals with how they were socially, economically and politically organised. All these act as a basis of transformation of society to the present status.

    By studying people’s past, we appreciate their culture. This helps us to pick and promote acceptable behaviour. We also avoid what has been proved negative to the general wellbeing of the society.

     In Rwanda, the Institute of National Museum is a good source of information. It has information on the history of the country and the region.

    Fig. 1.4: The Institute of National Museum of Rwanda in Huye District

    Rwanda is known worldwide as a country of a thousand hills.  It is also one of the world’s richest nations in terms of diversified cultural heritage. The Rwandan cultural heritage contains both tangible and intangible components.

    These include sites that offer an incomparable view of the beauty of our country. They also give our visitors a platform to learn about Rwandan history, mythology and culture. Travelling through the country provides an interesting insight into some of those sites. Most of these sites are often located in beautiful countryside. 

    The Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) researches on these sites. It is a way of identifying, protecting and promoting them for cultural heritage. Cultural heritage promotes tourism.

    (vii) Genetics

     Genetics is the study of genes, heredity and genetic variations in living organisms. Genetic studies enables historians to categorise different races and ethnic groups. The study of  Genetic enables historians to understand human identity and origins of different communities. Since this occurs over time, a historian can capture relevant periods in the development of people. Through comparative studies of DNA, which is inherited from parents, it is widely believed that modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, originated in Africa.


    The sources of information may be acquired from people who had first hand account of the event or events. One way is through narrations. This make up primary sources of information. 

    The information may as well be interprated, analysed and written. The writings may be in form of stories, pictures or even symbols and signs. This form of passing historical information make up secondary sources of information.

    Primary sources of History

    I was present during the wedding between Ms Ingabire and Mr Mazimpaka. I swear that was the wedding of the year. It could only be likened to a state function. Many dignitaries from Rwanda and other countries were present. The most memorable moment was their arrival. I saw and counted fifty cars. What a motorcade! 

    About thirty minutes after the cars had been parked, a thunderous sound was heard. Attention of those present shifted to the sky. Ten white choppers were descending to earth. They landed in style, one after the other. The bride and the groom alighted. They were received by a well trained band. In short, it was a colourful wedding ceremony.

    The above narration gives a first-hand account of the wedding. The person talking witnessed the wedding. This is an example of a primary source. Primary sources provide first-hand accounts about a person or a historical event. Examples of primary sources of History are:

     • Letters  

      •     Manuscripts

     • Speeches   

     •     Photographs 

    • Diaries    

    •     Artefacts 

    • Oral interviews

    Secondary sources of History

    Five years down the line, the wedding of Mr and Mrs Mazimpaka is still being talked about. It is said that it was attended by dignitaries from Rwanda and beyond. Some say that the bride and the bridegroom were escorted by about ten choppers. The number of vehicles at the ceremony is said to have been over forty

    The above is an extract from one of the local newspapers in Rwanda. It reports about the wedding you read about under primary sources of History. Such a report is what makes a secondary source. This is because secondary sources of History interpret and analyse primary sources of History. They may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Examples of secondary sources of History include: 

    • Magazines

     • Articles 

    • Encyclopaedia 

    Process of collecting Historical information

    Kayirege is a student who sits in front of the class because she is short-sighted. She was given a task by her Mathematics teacher. She was asked to write the names of students in her class. She wrote eighteen names for all the girls and sixteen names for the boys. On that day, one male student, who was sick, was absent. She indicated this on her list. She presented the list to her teacher afterwards

    By doing this exercise, Kayirege was collecting information about her class. 

    The following is the process of collecting information: 

    • Data collection 

    • Data analysis

     • Conclusion 

    Historical information is collected following the same process. 

    By writing the names, Kayirege was collecting information about members of her class. Data collection is gathering of information from different sources. The methods of data collection include questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, survey, tape-recording, filming, photographing and observation. 

    To determine the number of female and male students, Kayirege was to analyse the information she had collected. Her further analysis showed that one student, who was male, was absent. Data analysis is interpreting the data collected. It involves putting or simplifying the data collected for easy interpretation. It can be put in categories, tabular, pictorial, chart or graph form. 

    From the class list Kayirege presented to the teacher, a conclusion could easily be made. For example, one can calculate the ratio of girls to boys in the class. It is also possible to calculate the percentage of girls and boys in the class. This is called a conclusion. A conclusion is therefore making decisions on the data collected. 

    Importance of studying History 

    Gahizi, Kwikiriza and Hakuzimana were high school friends. They all studied History. They met recently in a café for their business deals. 

    Gahizi:  Tomorrow, I will be passing judgement on a case that has been ongoing for months now. However, I am happy that the end seems near

    Kwikiriza:  As for me, I will be indoors. We were out of the the city overseeing road constructions.

    Hakuzimana:  Then I suggest we meet next weekend because I will be having History lectures with my university students on Wednesday and Thursday. Can we meet somewhere else or will we come back here to discuss our pending business deal? 

    From the conversation, it is evident that the trio went on to pursue lucrative careers. The study of History further enabled them get their current jobs. From them, we learn that History is a career subject. 

    The following are other reasons why History is more than a career subject: 

    •History prepares us for the future, after we have known the present and past. For example, Rwanda’s pre-colonial, colonial and post independence era helps us plan for our country.

     • The study of History inspires us and instills in us a patriotic and nationalistic spirit. This spirit develops as we learn about our heroes such as Kigeli IV Rwabugiri. 

    • We study History as a career subject. Through it we can become teachers, lawyers, administrators, curators and politicians.

     • It also sharpens our critical sense as it widens our knowledge and competencies. Through History, we can read, write, interpret information, debate and draw logical conclusions and judgments. 

    • It promotes moral principles through the study of personalities with high moral standards. It helps us to avoid any form of injustice.

     • It helps to promote international understanding among nations and people. This is through the study of other countries’ systems of governance. It can be achieved through actions of international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the East African Community (EAC)

    . • It helps us to be tolerant. Through the study of History, we are able to learn about culture and values of different ethnic groups, tribes and races. This is important in the promotion of mutual understanding, tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

    • It helps us to understand the nature of social, economic and political problems of a given society.

     • It helps us to make a thorough analysis of the past events such as the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. This will help us prevent them from occurring again.

    Challenges in collecting historical sources 

    Activity 1.7

    Read the following story 

    In the past, people carried out trade over long distances. Trade was (and still is) important to people. This is because it helps them make money. Imagine you are one of the traders. You need to travel to a far off place to sell your goods. You also need to find out information about some of the products needed in your area. Your means of transport is a donkey, with its cart. On the way, there are dangers posed by wild animals.

    The people you intend to visit do not understand your language. Last time you travelled to a similar place, you managed to sell a few goods. This is because the only form of communication was by use of gestures.

    1. Identify the challenges of trading in this kind of a situation.

     2. Discuss how the challenges highlighted by this story relate to the challenges in collecting historical information.

    Use the following points to guide your discussion. 

    • Some sources are inconvenient to use for all learners. For instance, oral tradition which cannot be used by people with hearing impairments. 

    • Some historical sources are affected by language barrier. A piece of information may be in a local language which might be not easy to translate into another language. 

    • Written records cannot be used by illiterate people. 

    • Oral traditional sources are highly affected by death. Once someone dies before it is recorded then the information is lost. 

    • Some historical sources are very hard to interpret and are usually misinterpreted. For example, use of gestures. In some cases, stone inscriptions found in caves are sources of historical information, though may be hard to interpret. 

    • In some cases, getting the right information takes a longer time. This is because of the many processes involved.

    Other challenges in collecting historical information

    • Some historical sources such as archaeology are expensive to use.  They require expensive resources such as excavation and laboratory equipment. 

    • Some historical sources such as archaeology require experts and skilled people. Such experts are usually lacking in some areas.

     • It is also difficult to trace some historical information especially where fossils are involved.

    Revision questions

    1. Identify the source of information that will be easier to use for:

     (a) The visually impaired 

    (b) The physically handicapped

     (c) Those with hearing impairments 

    2. Justify the importance of studying History.

     3. Identify different ways through which historical information is collected. 

    4. Explain the advantages of written sources of History.

     5. State the disadvantages of oral sources of History. 

    6. Explain the challenges faced in collecting historical information.

    Files: 3


    Oral Traditions

    Activity 2.1

    1. Sing the Rwanda National Anthem. 

    2. Explain what it tells you about our country

    Our National Anthem is very melodious. It encourages us to be united and to develop our country. However, those who have hearing impairment cannot hear the sweet melody of our National Anthem. 

    A speech delivered by a leader during a public forum is likely to be interpreted differently. Some people may exaggerate it while others may ignore some important details of the speech. Consequently, the people will have different interpretations of the same speech.

    It is clear from the above examples that whatever is said verbally has advantages and disadvantages. 

    Advantages of oral traditions

    (i) Oral traditions give first-hand information since it is given by people who were present at an event. 

    (ii) Information obtained from oral traditions is cheap to use since the speaker may not require payments for the information given. 

    (iii) It helps the information seeker to ask questions in order to understand something better.

     (iv) This source is clearer and reliable when both people involved speak the same language.

     (v) Oral traditions keep the mind alert because it requires the receiver to be attentive for easy memorisation. 

    (vi) It is readily available since it is sourced from people. 

    (vii) It may be the only source of History where there is no written source for some period in the society

    Disadvantages of oral traditions

    (i) Information can easily be forgotten. This may affect its accuracy.

     (ii) The information can be distorted in the process of being passed on from one person to another

    (iii) There may exist language barriers. 

    (iv) It is not convenient to people who have hearing impairment. 

    (v) There could be lack of chronology in the narration.

     (vi) If one dies without giving information, it may mark its end.

     (vii) The informer may be biased. He or she may tell the successes and not the failures. People who belong to the same clans, families or societies tend to promote their own traditions. They sometimes undermine those of others. This affects the truth of the information. 

    (viii) It is time consuming since many people like telling long and irrelevant stories. 


    Activity 2.2 

    Go to a corner of your school or home compound. Dig a hole that has the following measurements: 

    • Length 2 feet 

    • Width 1 foot 

    • Depth 1 foot 

    (a)  Name the tools that you have used. 

    (b)  Mention what you dug out apart from soil.

     (c)  State the challenges you encountered while digging

    Archaeologists dig deep into the earth to look for the fossils. They use different tools and equipment to do their work. It is obvious that they face challenges during the whole process. Eventually, they come up with information that is useful in the study of History.

    Advantages of archaeology 

    (i) Archaeology gives information about the past which we have no written records of.

     (ii) It tells about the life, culture and evolution of technology of the ancient people.

     (iii) Information obtained from archaeology is reliable because it is backed by evidence. 

    (iv) It is the only source that has helped in discovering pre-history in different parts of the world. A good example is the discovery of the origin of man. 

    (v) Archaeology assists historians to understand the past in relation to the present life. Archaeological sites, artefacts, food remains and other records facilitate this process. 

    Disadvantages of archaeology

    (i) This source of information may not be very accurate especially in the dating of fossils. 

    (ii) Digging into the ground need patience and tenacity. 

    (iii) It is an expensive source because it requires expensive equipment for digging and dating. 

    (iv) Archaeology requires specialists. Archaeologists are very few in our country.

     (v) Sometimes, it is very difficult to trace where one can find fossils. 

    (vi) Different archaelogists tend to interpret historical artefacts in their own ways. This may result into biases.

     (vii) There is limited financial investment in archaelogical studies.


    Linguistics is the study and analysis of a language. It is the study of significant consonants, vowels, tones and grammar patterns of a language to determine the evolution, development and  similarity or similarities with other languages. A person who studies linguistics is called a linguist.

    The study of linguistics is one of the many ways through which people can learn more about the history of people who speak a particular language. 

    Advantages of linguistic study

    (i) The study of linguistics may be easier and cheaper since there is no payment for the study of languages spoken. 

    (ii) It tells the origin, migration and settlement patterns of people. 

    (iii) This source of information is not easily destroyed since it cannot die but can be moderated.

     (iv) Linguistics study is reliable since it uses scientific approaches of practised observation of the language. 

    (iv) Through linguistics, we are able to determine the migration, origin, and patterns of people. 

    (v) Linguistics has helped to classify people of Africa into various language groups. For example, the Bantu and the Nilotes. Identifying languages in Africa for example, Kinyarwanda has been made easy through the study of linguistics. 

    (vi)  Today, it is possible to know when languages, currently being spoken, came into existence and how they have developed.

    Disadvantages of linguistic study

    (i) Linguistic experts are very few. Classification of languages is complicated. 

    (ii) Linguistics requires people who understand many languages. Therefore, it may be limited by language barrier.

     (iii) Translation of languages distorts the meaning of some words. Sometimes it interferes with the original language. 

    (iv) Old words may not be fully understood (for example in ibyirugo and ubwiru).


    1. Write the name of your Cell. 

    2. State some changes that have taken place in your Cell in the past few years.

    Over a period of time, many changes take place. The changes could be in terms of people’s beliefs, relationships and customs. It is also possible that some people might have moved into or out of your Cell. 

    Anthropologists sometimes have to go to the communities they are interested in studying. They live and mingle with them during the study. It is only then that they can come up with reliable information about those communities.

    Advantages of anthropology

    (i) There are many anthropologists to help trace historical facts. 

    (ii) Anthropology helps to explain the settlement and growth of different people. 

    (iii) It explains some issues, especially where certain societies have not changed much in recent times. 

    (iv) Through the study of anthropology we get to understand people’s traditional ways of life.

    Disadvantages of anthropology

    (i) It is difficult to understand how and why people think the way they do. 

    (ii) This source of historical information is time consuming since it involves staying with people in order to understand their culture.

    (iii) Facts from anthropology are not conclusive enough to justify historical evidence. These facts do not stand the test of time.

     (iv) The anthropologists may have racial and cultural differences hence failing to understand another society. 

    (v) Anthropological hypothesis may be taken as historical truth (for example Hamite and Bantu migration) which may have negative consequences. 

    Written Sources

    1. Describe how you can spend RWF 7,000. Remember to write a list of things you would buy, indicating their prices.

     2. Explain why you would prefer a written list of what you need instead of cramming them.

    Advantages of written sources

    (i) Information in written sources is easy to communicate because many people can read and write. 

    (ii) Since it is not easy to change what is written, these sources of information are more accurate than oral sources. 

    (iii) Written sources of History, when compared to archaelogy, are relatively cheaper. 

    (iv) Translation into different languages that different people can understand is easy, enabling this source to be usable by many people. 

    (v) These sources can be stored for a long time. They therefore offer a more permanent record about human events if kept well. This can be done through use of digitisation and ICT

     (vi) If proper updates are done, written sources can provide a good chronology of events. 

    (vii) A wider population through the use of media, library and internet. 

    Disadvantages of written sources

     (i) It may be difficult to authenticate ananymous documents.

     (ii) Some textbooks are written in languages that are difficult to understand. 

    (iii) They cannot be used by illiterate people.

     (iv) Most written sources tend to wear out and get destroyed over time. 

    (v) It may be difficult to analyse critically multiple documents 

    (vi) They are not appropriate for the visually impaired.


    Activity 4.1

    Use a dictionary and internet to find the meaning of the word ‘civilisation’.

    Civilisation refers to a process by which a society (or place) reaches an advanced stage of social development and organisation. It is also a stage of social, political or technological development. 

    Notion of civilisation

    Activity 4.2

    Read the following poem then answer the question that follows. 

    What a good mother!

     She has always been pregnant and delivers her beauty, Her home has expanded through infrastructural development, She has done her best and she deserves a thousand distinctions, Kigali is the mother and she is always admired by all.

    She has delivered beautiful daughters and handsome sons, Giants of peace, walk together with pride and elegance, Her children have good hospitals and schools, Kigali is the mother, the best mother indeed! 

    Explain what you learn from the song.

    The above poem praises Kigali City, and by extension Rwanda. Indeed there are many things about Rwanda to be proud of. Rwandan culture has developed to the level of complete civilisation. 

    Way back in time of Stone Age (Neolithic), people began to group themselves into settlements. They cooperated to make better lives for themselves. According to archeologists, the first settlements were in river valleys or near water bodies. They lived on hunting and gathering food from forests. 

    The ancient people developed tools by a slow and torturous process of trial and error. Eventually with these tools, came a true culture. The people devised implements with which to farm, dig irrigation ditches, construct housings and make utensils. 

    To help them in their endeavours, they developed a language. The language was first spoken, and later written. They also had to learn rudimentary mathematics. It dealt with how to measure land and count objects such as animals and possessions

    At some very early period, people developed the tools to engage in decorative, musical and literary art. The decorative art probably appeared first for example, the remarkable cave paintings. It is likely that people wrote to each other. They also expressed themselves by drawings or pictograms. 

    If culture and civilisation are for all practical purposes, then they signify the totality of a society’s achievements. Technological advancements in fields such as arts, politics and religion are the result of human ingenuity. 

    Components of civilisation 

    Art and architecture: This was seen in the various types of art work and construction of houses. The art work and type of houses expressed the talents, beliefs and values of people in a society. 

    Culture: This was a way of life of people in a society or a given area. It differs from goodness, strength and weakness. It was a social norm of people without which they could not live. 

    Technology: It involved various tools and skills which people used to make life easier in a society. However, there was always advancement in technology in terms of art, transport, communication and education with the passage of time.

    Religion: It is a social institution involving beliefs and practices based on recognising the sacred. It was a unifying factor towards civilisation. 

    Trade: In the past, there was exchange of goods for other goods. This was called barter trade. This was made possible through an organised network of earth roads and water ways for moving people and goods from one place to another.

    Politics: This is the power or authority that rules a society. Good governance and better administrative policies could boost civilisation in a given society. This went hand in hand with political stability, justice and service delivery  

    Language: The system of communication involved symbols that stood for sounds and ideas to record information. A well developed language network in a society was an important factor in civilisation because it promoted easy communication.


    Formal writing in Rwanda began with the coming of the Europeans.

    Economy: The way people used resources to meet their needs was so much important in the society. It was understood that when resources were used sparingly, the society could stand a chance for achieving civilisation quickly. This is because of the growth of the economy.

    Activity 4.3

    1. Research on how two of the following activities were conducted in traditional Rwanda: • Marriage             

    • Family 

    • Education 

    • Rituals and rites 

    • Dressing code

     • sex education 

    • Taboos    

    2. Write down your findings

    From your research, you realise that for every item above there was a systematic way of doing it. The community had to be involved. 

    Social organisation of the Rwandan traditional society Family 

    A family was the basic unit of society characterised by sharing, giving and receiving. A man (husband) of the first family was the head of the extended family. 


    Activity 4.4

    Describe how marriage ceremonies are conducted in your community. 

    If you compare your answers for Activity 4.3 with those of Activity 4.4 you realise some changes. The changes are due to factors such as time, technology and religion.

    Whenever a boy or a girl reached 18 years of age, arrangements for marriage would be done. Marriage was an alliance between two families. There were many steps towards marriage. It was a traditional ceremony led by elders with a lot of care. The couple would live in separate houses and form their own unit.


    Rwandans fed on agricultural and animal products. They cultivated crops such as cowpeas, broom-corn (sorghum), beans, sweet potatoes, purple yams and calabashes. They also reared cattle for milk and meat.

    Fig. 4.1: Food crops in Rwanda

    Traditional drinks

    Rwandans respected their traditional drink so much. They brew and drank urwagwa and amarwa, banana and sorghum beer respectively. They also drank milk and porridge, especially women and sick people.

    Fig. 4.2: Traditional brew


    Rwandans had their traditional clothes made from plant products and animal skins. Plant product clothes included bark clothes from fig tree and banana stem barks. They were joined together to make a garment. Clothes of skin included uruyonga for boys over ten years, ishabure indengera for girls and ikanda for women. Men put on calf hides while leopard skins were for kings and chiefs.


    Rwandans had informal education which was general and Intore education. Education went with sex and age brackets. Young girls were taught by their mothers and paternal aunts. Boys were taught by their fathers on hunting and agriculture.

     Young boys from rich families went to the king’s palace to train. They were trained on warrior drills and were commonly known as Intore. 


    Rwandans stood for better relations with neighbours and relatives. They made visits, contributed to each other, made marriage alliances and exchanged cows. Solidarity among Rwandans was achieved through gutabarana (physical mutual help), kwishimana (physical moral presence during times of happiness) and gufashanya (helping one another in some activities requiring community intervention on voluntary basis). To strengthen social relations further, blood pacts ritual (kunywana) was also emphasised in traditional Rwanda. 

    Cultural organisation 

    Oral literature: Rwandans practised oral literature. Their oral literature included folk tales (imigani), proverbs, riddles and poems. The poems were of many categories. These included pastoral poems, dynastic poems, warrior or epic poems and esoteric code. Other forms of literature were life histories, plays and historical recitations. It was passed down to future generations by word of mouth, typically through memorisation and recitation. It was considered as a verbal form of art. 

    Traditional religion: This was one of the most unifying factors that brought Rwandans together. They believed in God (Imana) for everything they were doing. This was seen in giving God (Imana) different names such as Rugira, Ruhanga and Iyakare. Other names given were Iyambere and Rugaba. Different people were given different names to show the supremacy of Imana (God). For example they were given names such as Niyibizi, Niyigena and Nibishaka.

    Rwandans believed and remained in touch with Ryangombe who was regarded as the king of spirits and Abazimu through: 

    • Guterekera: Appeasing the living dead by giving sacrifices of beer, food and milk. 

    • Kuragura: This was a spiritual divination to consult the gods and keep in touch. 

    • Kubandwa: This was a special ceremony to worship Ryangombe by imandwa or those who have been initiated to the cult of Ryangombe. The chief imandwa was called Ryangombe. 

    There was also Nyabingi cult in the north eastern part of the kingdom.

     Rites related to daily life

     Rwandan society had various rites such child naming, sexual initiation, death ceremony and taboos.

    Child naming: This ceremony was done on the evening of the eighth day after a new baby was born. It began with bringing the baby out to the public for the first time. This was called gusohora umwana. All village children from three to ten years would come and cultivate a piece of land using sticks that were shaped in the form of a hoe. Thereafter, a male adult would stop them, and throw water at them. The kids would then run home to be given food in front of adults. The kids would be requested to put forward names, and the father would give the name he had selected. 

    Sexual initiation for girls, Gukuna: Young girls were secretly advised and trained to do what was called gukuna. This was a practice of elongating the labia minora. This was done to increase sexual pleasure for both males and females. This was commonly done at puberty stage with some plant extract.  

    Death ceremony: Whenever a person died, family members would take part in certain rituals for send off. There was always a period of mourning (kwirabura) announced by head of the family. During that period, sexual relations and working in fields were forbidden. At the end of it, they performed kwera ceremony, to mark the end of mourning.

    Taboos and forbidden things: Taboos in Rwanda were commonly known as Kirazira, meaning forbidden. The following taboos existed in Rwandan society: 

    (i) Children were forbidden to sit on their fathers stool. 

    (ii)  Whistling at night was prohibited. 

    (iii)  Sitting on a mortar was forbidden. 

    (iv) One could not marry from his or her own clan. 

    (v) A wife was not supposed to mention the name of her father in law. 

    (vi) Premarital pregnancy was prohibited. 

    (vii) Girls were forbidden to climb trees.

    Political and military organisation

    Activity 4.5 

    1. Draw a chart of the structure of administrative units of the Government of Rwanda. Start with the largest to the smallest.

     2. Write down the head of each administrative unit. 

    Every administrative unit of Rwanda Government has a leader. These leaders ensure that government policies are implemented. They also link the people at all levels with the government. All these leaders are headed by the president.

    The Kingdom of Rwanda also had its administrative system. The Kingdom of Rwanda is known to have started in a small area of Gasabo. It enlarged to a bigger size and was named Rwanda rugari rwa Gasabo, meaning the big size of Rwanda. 

    The kingdom of Rwanda was headed by a king with a title of Umwami. This gave him dignity and respect among others. 

    The king had a centralised system of administration whereby he was the overall head of administration. He lived in a palace at the centre of a large court and was treated as a divine living. The court was mobile. In principle, he was the sole owner of land and cattle in the whole kingdom. 

    Administrative structure and central power 

    Activity 4.6

    1. Draw a table with two columns and five rows. Insert the name of a ministry in Rwanda in the first column and the respective minister in the next column. Use the example below:


    2. Research on the functions of the ministries you have mentioned.

    The king, as the head of the kingdom, had daily life that was rather unique. He lived alongside Abiru who performed various rituals as kingdom ritualists. Some words were specifically used on the life style of the king. For example: 

    • Carrying him on a stretcher (Kuremererwa) 

    • His speech (Irivuze umwami) 

    • His palace (Ingoro)

     • Travelling (Kurambagira) 

    • His death (Gutanga) The king usually came from Abanyiginya clan. The king’s authority had a symbol of a sacred royal drum called Kalinga. There were other small drums such as Kiragutse, Mpatsibihugu and Rucabagome.

    Fig. 4.3: Royal drums (Kalinga)

    The king was a supreme judge and had power over life and death. He also had power to wage war and conquest, and to appoint and dismiss leaders.  He also administered justice in the kingdom. The king was a great personality because of different important roles he played. He was commonly referred to as Imana (God) and called usually as Nyagasani. 

    The Queen mother: She was the biological mother of the king, though not in all cases. She was regarded as an important person in the palace in the exercise of power. She was the first chief advisor (counsellor) of the king. She guided the actions of the king. 

    Abiru: These were officials of the kingdom in charge of ubwiru. The chief abiru came from Abatsobe clan. They were guardians of the tradition and kept the secrets of the kingdom.  They also advised and counselled the king, and kept the royal drum, Kalinga. 

    Rwanda Kingdom was further divided into Districts called Ibiti, headed by chiefs appointed by the king. These Districts were further sub-divided into Ibikingi (Sub-districts) also headed by chiefs. Sub-districts were also subdivided into Imirenge and headed by a chief answerable to Ibikingi

    Military/army (Ingabo)

    Activity 4.7 

    1. Write down the name of Rwanda’s Army Chief of Staff. 

    2. Explain how he/she is appointed.

    A new king recruited a new army. The king, based on the powers entrusted in him, appointed the head of the army. The head of the army was referred to as army chief (Umugaba w’ingabo). The king was the commander-in-chief, and the army chief reported to him directly.

    Duties of the army chief 

    • Recruiting fighters in the army; 

    • Monitoring the Districts and reporting to the king; 

    • Supplying the courts with certain items; 

    • Preparing the soldiers for war; 

    • Planing and coordinating activities related to the cattle of the army.

    Economic organisation 


    Activity 4.8 

    Give a list of food and cash crops, and animals grown and kept in your Province.

    This refers to growing of crops and rearing of animals. The ancient Kingdom of Rwanda people practised subsistence agriculture specifically to feed their own homes and families. People used their own hand-made hoes. They grew crops such as sorghum, millet, beans yams and pumpkins. 

    Slashing the bush for farming was the role of men while women resorted to weeding. They also looked after granaries.


    After the coming of the Europeans, various types of crops were introduced. They were introduced to supplement what already existed before. The crops introduced included groundnuts, cassava, rice, soya beans, green peas and Irish potatoes. Others were cash crops such as coffee and tea. 

    Cattle keeping

    Ancient Rwandan people were closely associated with rearing cattle. It was like a tradition to own cows. Various types and species of cows were reared. These included Inyambo, Inyankole and Inkuku cows. Men took the role of herding or looking after livestock. People of Rwanda also reared goats, sheep and chicken. Cows were reared for social exchange, prestige, respect, milk, food and skins.


    Activity 4.9

    1. Identify the trading activities that most people from your District are involved in. 

    2. Apart from profit making, explain why you think they are involved in those particular trading activities.

    Commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods especially on a large scale. In the past, it was carried out between different societies depending on the goods each sold. In traditional Rwandan society, people carried out trade as an economic activity

    Barter trade

     People exchanged goods for goods, and services for services. Main items used for exchange included cattle, skins and craft. They were exchanged within and outside Rwanda Kingdom. The kingdoms that Rwanda traded with included Ankole, Burundi, Buganda, Bushi and Karagwe. Goods exchanged were made or obtained from some of the following activities: 

    (a) Art and craft 

    The people of ancient Rwanda were so skilled in making various things. They manufactured and produced items such as hoes, axes, swords, spears, hammers, knives and needles. They also made various products from weaving. Men wove trays, doors and stretchers. Women and girls wove mats and baskets. In carpentry, they made items such as spoons, stools, bows and plates.

    (b) Pottery

     Rwandans also obtained clay from swamps and made pottery. Products included pots for fetching water and keeping beer, and pipes for smoking tobacco. They also did some carpentry work. Products made included spoons, plates, stools, canoes, bows, playing boards, hair combs and pipes. 

    (c) Bee keeping 

    Rwandans kept bees around the places where they lived. People made traditional bee hives and put them up in a tree branch to trap bees. Bee keepers harvested honey and its various products. This was after some time in dry season. Honey could be mixed with sorghum to make inkangaza and inturire local beer drinks. 

    (d) Hunting The ancient 

    Rwandan people practised hunting as an economic activity. They hunted hares, leopards, porcupines, antelopes and gazelles. They tamed, trained and used specific tough dogs for hunting down the wild animals. Alongside dogs, they used other equipment such as spears, snares, arrows, and bows for hunting.

    Activity 4.10

    look at the following picture

    Describe what you see

    Famine and epizooties

    The Kingdom of Rwanda suffered several famines during the pre-colonial period. People gave these famines different names depending on the harm made, villages affected and time. 

    Famines were primarily caused by prolonged sunshine that resulted to drought. The drought made plants dry out in gardens before the harvest season. 

    It was also because of constant wars of expansion that made so many people busy in fighting. They forgot to practise agriculture as people were still running up and down. They had no time to settle down and cultivate. 

    Poor timing of agricultural seasons culminated into famine at one time or another. Crops could either be affected by floods or meet sunshine season before reaching harvest season.

    Pests and diseases also affected crops. They were eaten up by pests and attacked by various diseases leading to drying out. Common pests included locusts, grasshoppers, rodents and rats.

    Different famines that affected Rwanda at different times had far reaching effects. These were: 

    • A big number of people and animals died due to lack of food and pasture respectively.

    • Vegetation dried out leading to destruction of environment and natural beauty. This was felt especially in case where famine was caused by prolonged sunshine.

     • Famine also affected the Kingdom of Rwanda negatively in terms of the economy. It led to reduction of royalties and taxes. 

    • People also suffered from poor feeding because of inadequate food supply in various families of Rwanda. Several granaries of families remained empty.

    Some of the famines that affected Rwanda in the pre-colonial period include the following: 

    (a) Macumu famine

     (b) Rukungugu famine 

    (c) Muhatigicumuro famine 

    (d) Kijugunya famine 

    (e) Ruyaga famine

    Pre-colonial famines in Rwanda

    Macumu famine (1690): This was the famine that occurred in Rwanda in the period between 1690 and 1708. It was during the reign of Cyilima II Rujugira. It was caused by warfare that characterised his reign as well as a large number of emigrants into the kingdom from Bunyambiriri to Bugoyi, north east of Lake Kivu. 

    Rukungugu famine (1797): This affected Rwanda during the reign of Yuhi IV Gahindiro. It was caused by drought that hit the country between 1797 and 1830. This famine led to the drying of crops due to lack of sufficient rainfall. 

    Muhatigicumuro famine (1890): This was experienced in some parts of Huye. It was caused by insufficient rains, which affected crop fields in the whole region. This famine led to crop failure, which not only affected people, but animals as well.

    Kijugunya famine (1895): It happened during the reign of Kigeli Rwabugiri. There was massive crop failure caused by drought that affected the Rwanda Kingdom. Many people starved.

    Ruyaga famine (1902-1903): This famine struck several parts of Rwanda causing widespread scarcity of food. This was because of crop failure and death of cattle. It occurred during the reign of King Yuhi V Musinga.

    Socio-political and economic dependence in pre-colonial Rwanda


    This was a customary contract between the owner of the cattle and person who wished to acquire a cow. The owner of the cow was known as Sebuja (patron). The client was known as Umugaragu. 

    The contract was because a person would be looking for protection from a more powerful patron. He would seek social protection from a wealthy patron. 

    The Ubuhake was primarily on individual liberty. One entered freely and left freely as he so wished especially after acquiring enough cows. This meant that he could then stand on his own.

    Patrons and clients had a common link and shared commitments as they made Ubuhake in the society.

    The following were the duties of the client: 

    (i) Cultivating the fields of the patron 

    (ii) Looking after the cattle and ensuring that the milk was of good quality 

    (iii) Repairing homesteads 

    (iv) Guarding homes at night 

    (v) Providing liquor 

    (vi) Building fences 

    (vii) Escorting the patron to war 

    (viii) Acting as a messenger 

    (ix) Gushumbusha in case of loose of cattle

    Patron’s duties included: 

    (i) Protecting the client against those who were socially stronger than him and others likely to be enemies 

    (ii) Assisting the client in court 

    (iii) Redeeming the client 

    (iv) Giving bull calves and milk 

    (v) Contributing to formation of a new herd 


    This was a system where people gained rights to large tracts of land by being the first to clear and valorise the land (known as gukonda). In this system, a lineage held rights to land corporately and major decisions about managing land holdings were taken by the lineage chief (umutware w’umuryango). The abakonde lineages held economic and political power over their ubukonde and could grant rights to abagererwa to use the land in their territory. Clients were required to make payments to their patrons, most often in the form of a portion of the harvests or in manual labour. This took place in the patrons’ fields or enclosure.

    There were many types of ubukonde. These were ubukonde bw’ inzogera (hunting grounds), ubukonde bw’ inka (grazing lands) and ubukonde bw’ isuka (agricultural lands). In all these types, the umukonde (ubukonde/abagererwa owner) allowed abagererwa access to these lands in exchange for gifts and/ or labour.


    This was traditional constraints introduced during Rwabugiri’s reign in some regions where it was mandatory for each man to work two days out of five days in a week (a week was 7 days) for a political administrative leader without any compensation.


    During the Belgian administration in Rwanda, uburetwa was expanded. Each male adult was to work one day per week. This continued throughout the colonial era because of the following needs: 

    (i)  Developing infrastructure 

    (ii)  Introducing industrial crops 

    (iii)  Fighting famine through compulsory agriculture

    Revision questions 

    1. List down 6 economic activities that were carried out in pre-colonial Rwanda. 

    2. Discuss the role played by the following leaders in pre-colonial Rwanda: (a) The king (b) Queen mother (c) Ritualists (d) Army chief (e) Land chief 

    3. (a) Define the term civilisation.

     (b)  Briefly list down the components of civilisation. 

    4. (a)  Give at list 6 causes of famines in pre-colonial Rwanda.

     (b) State the consequences of famines in pre-colonial Rwanda. 

    5. Discuss the role of the army in ancient Rwanda during civilisation.

     6. List down the duties of clients and patrons during Ubuhake in precolonial Rwanda. 

    7.  As a student of History, explain what you can do to preserve the Rwandan traditional culture.


    Definition of genocide

    Activity 5.1 

    Read the following words: 

    (i) Homicide 

    (ii) Suicide 

    (iii) Patricide 

    (iv) Infanticide 

    1. Identify the most common thing with all of them. 

    2. Use a dictionary to find out the meaning of each word.

    The meaning of some words used in a language is found in their origin.

    Activity 5.2

    Use the internet to find the origin of the word ‘genocide’.

    From your finding, it is clear that genocide is the killing of innocent people based on their tribe, political position, race or religion with the intention of completely wiping them out. Examples of genocides are:

     • Genocide against the Tutsi (Rwanda, 1994) 

    • Genocide against the Jews, Holocaust (Germany, 1938-1945)

    Fig 5.1: Human skulls and bones at Murambi Memorial Site of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi

    Genocide and other mass crimes

    Activity 5.3

    1. Using information from the internet, differentiate between genocide and mass crimes. 

    2. The table below shows major examples of crimes that have been committed in two    African countries.

    Identify the one that describes:

     • Genocide 

    • Mass crime

    Features of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi

    Activity 5.4

    Munezero and Nshimiye have been friends from childhood. They even married from the same family in order to strengthen their friendship. Lately, their relationship is not good. 

    1. State what may have gone wrong between them. 

    2. What will suggest to you that Munezero’s and Nshimiye’s relationship is not good? Discuss. 

    From your answers, you realise that: 

    a) People do not develop hatred without reasons. 

    b) The reasons for hatred may not be genuine. 

    c) There are always signs that show that friends have become enemies.

    Look again at the third point above (the one in italics). You realise that there are things (signs) that are unique to something. Those unique things are what we call features. Let us now look at the features of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

    i. Massive killing and massacre of people

     During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, many people were killed. Over one million people perished in only 100 days. The killings were spear-headed by the state organs and paramilitary (Interahamwe militia).

     ii. Extreme forms of violence against innocent people

     It involved rape, abduction and torture of the innocent Tutsi by the Hutu extremists. It involved pounding babies in mortars, and confining and starving victims to death. It also involved burying victims alive, maiming and shooting them to death. 

    iii. Organised to eliminate the Tutsi 

    The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was organised specifically to clear the Tutsi. The perpetrators killed the Tutsi elderly, men, women, youth and children. They went to the extent of cutting pregnant women to remove the foetus. They made sure that the foetus was dead. They also killed Hutu politicians opposed to genocide. 

    iv. Isolation and lack of external interference 

    During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda was isolated by other countries and peace keeping agencies. For instance, there was the withdrawal of UN troops stationed in Rwanda. However, the UN Security Council ignored warnings of the impending massacre. The UN failed to empower the force, and did not issue a mandate to stop the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

    v. Role of state machinery    

    The government initiated, executed and coordinated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Government soldiers, local administration, public media, public services and security  forces were involved. They encouraged the Hutus extremists and militias to perpetrate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

     vi. Popular participation 

    Before and during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the government carried out a wide propaganda to involve all the Hutu to exterminate the minority Tutsi which many Hutus accepted. They were briefed, trained and equipped with everything to wipe out the Tutsi.

    Activity 5.5 

    The following are characteristics of war crimes, mass crimes and genocide. All have been jumbled up. 

    • Many people are killed. 

    • Killing of hostages. 

    • Killing of many people by one person or a very small group of people. 

    • Deliberate destruction of property during war. 

    • Dehumanisation of others and seeing them as animals or pests. 

    • Depriving a prisoner of war a fair trial. 

    • Killing with the intention to finish members of a tribe, race or religion 

    • Mass killings targeted at the general public. 

    Draw a table with four columns and eight rows. Use the example below        to fill in the table with the correct details.

    Genocide and other mass crimes 

    The Holocaust was conducted by a select killer force without attracting attention from the world. Genocide against the Tutsi was done in front of the whole world.  The United Nations understood and watched it happening. It never stepped forward to stop the killings. This was something that UN regretted later. 

    During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, over one million people perished. This happened in a period of one hundred days. This makes it the most brutal and fastest genocide in the world ever. Over six million people perished in the Holocaust in Germany over a period of 6-7 years. In countries such as Sudan, the massacre took over ten years.

    In some countries such as Nigeria and Bosnia, people have been killed because of religion. In the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, many people were killed because they belonged to the social category of the Tutsi.

    Activity 5.6

    Read the following confession from one of the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

    “Sometimes when I’m asleep or when I’m just thinking, I see their images.               I remember their faces. And what hurts me is when I think about the relationships that we had with their parents, with their relatives. I remember that we didn’t have any problems. We were neighbours. And when I remember that I killed those innocent children, sometimes it hurts me so much. 

    “But God has helped me to understand that what happened and I’ve always remembered to ask for forgiveness to God to continue forgiving me for what I did. 

    “Remembering helps me to some extent because it keeps on reminding me that what we did was wrong. And I’m sure that can never happen again. All the images that come into my mind make me feel that this can’t ever happen again.” 

    Emmanuel Nyirimbuga 

    Source: World Vision-Rwanda (blog) 

    1. Explain what you learn from the confession. 

    2. Find out, from elders in your Cell, how the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi have been dealt with by the government.

    The 1948 Convention

    This was a gathering of nations. It intended to prevent the occurrence of genocide or related acts in its member states after Holocaust. It was headed by the United Nations General Assembly. 

    The convention was signed in Paris on 9th December 1948. It was made effective on 12th January 1951. 

    During the 1948 Convention, many terms were agreed upon. 

    Fig. 5.2: Delegates attending the 1948 Convention in Paris, France

    Terms of the 1948 Convention

    • The convention urged member states to prevent genocide and seriously punish anyone with the ideology. 

    • The 1948 Convention legally defined genocide to include causing mental and bodily harm to a group of people. The definition also included the intent to destroy in whole or in part an entire ethnic group or religion. 

    • It also stipulated that any act of genocide, be it directly or indirectly, shall be punishable. 

    • It was agreed that persons charged with genocide shall be put to trial. Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts associated with it, shall be tried by competent tribunal of the state in the territory  of which the act was committed or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those contracting parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction. 

    • It was agreed that any disputes related to interpretation of genocide shall be solved by international courts of justice. 

    Despite the ratification of the 1948 Convention, the UN did not prevent the Genocide against the Tutsi. The United Nations was present in Rwanda during the genocide. The United Nations understood and watched it happening. It never stepped forward to save the innocent murdered Tutsi.

    The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi could have been prevented. The rest of the world knew about it but did not want to get involved. The United States refused to send help, something that President Clinton regretted later.

    A statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was created after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It was created on 8th November 1994 and had a series of resolutions. Among these resolutions, the Security Council condemned the systematic and widespread violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda. 

    Aims of the ICTR 

    1. It was determined to put an end to crimes against humanity. 

    2. To take effective measures to bring to justice the persons who were responsible for the crimes. This was after determining that the situation in Rwanda constituted a threat to international peace and security. 

    3. It was also to contribute to the process of national reconciliation and to the restoration and maintenance of peace. 

    4. The tribunal was established for the purpose of prosecuting persons responsible for 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

    5. It was also to prosecute people involved in other violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda. 

    The ICTR was also responsible for prosecuting people charged with other violations committed in Rwanda’s neighbouring states, between 1st January 1994 and 31st December 1994. 

    The Tribunal was officially closed on the 31st of December 2015. At the time of its closure, it had achieved the following results: 

    • It had so far indicted more than 93 individuals. These are people it considered responsible for serious violations of Human Rights during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

    • 93 individuals were indicted by ICTR, 61 sentenced, 14 acquitted, 10 referred to national jurisdiction for trial, 03 deceased prior to during trial, 03 fugitives referred to MICT (Mechanism for international criminal tribunal), 02 indictments withdrawn before trial. 

    • It was the first to interpret the definition of genocide set forth in the 1948 Geneva Conventions. It was also the first international tribunal to deliver verdicts in relation to genocide against the Tutsi. 

    • It was the first tribunal to hold members of the media responsible for broadcasts intended to inflame the public to commit acts of genocide. 

    • By trying high-ranking leaders in Rwanda, the Tribunal demonstrated that impunity is unacceptable – not just locally, but also internationally.

    • The Tribunal achieved fair and impartial trials in accordance with international standards of justice. 

    • Trial of persons responsible for serious violations of the law was meant to contribute to the process of national reconciliation.  By conducting fair trials, listening to guilty pleas, combined with expressions of remorse, reconciliation has so far been achieved. 

    • The ICTR was later replaced by MICT (Mechanism for international criminal tribunal.

    Activity 5.7

    Discuss the role that Gacaca courts played in promoting unity, reconciliation and justice.


    Genocide is the killing of innocent people. It must be looked at as an enemy to economic growth and development of any nation. It makes people live in hatred and divisions based on tribe, race or religion. It also leads to destruction of the environment. Say NO to genocide.

    Activity 5.8

    With the help of your teacher, visit a nearby memorial site and find out the following: 

    a) Causes of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

    b)  The social, political and economic consequences of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

    Revision questions

    1. Define the term ‘genocide’.

     2. Describe the state of Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

    3. Explain how the government of national unity and reconciliation has attained development in the past two decades. 

    4. Distinguish between the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and other mass crimes. 

    5. Examine the effects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi on Rwanda.



    1: History of Ancient Africa 

    Unit 6: Evolution of mankind

    Origin of mankind 

    Activity 6.1

    Read the following story. 

    In the beginning, the grandmother of Rwandans lived in heaven. She lived with Nkuba (thunder). Nkuba could create a living thing. He, Nkuba, one day decided to create a baby boy. He created him out of clay then smeared him with his saliva. He then put him in a gourd filled with milk. In the milk was the heart of a bull that had been slaughtered.

    The gourd was always refilled with fresh milk every morning and evening. After nine months, the clay baby became alive. It was named Sabizeze. The baby grew to become a very handsome man. 

    Sabizeze came to know the truth about his origin. He became angry and decided to leave heaven. He came to earth and settled in Rwanda. 

    1. Compare the story above story with the story you have heard about the origin of mankind. 2. Find out more about the story of Sabizeze from elders.

    Just like other societies, Rwandan society too has its belief about the origin of human beings. The story of Sabizeze proves this. 

    The origin of humankind is said to have undergone five distinctive stages that include the following: 

    • Australopithecus 

    • Homo habilis 

    • Homo erectus 

    • Homo sapiens 

    • Homo sapiens sapiens

    Australopithecus lived between 3.9 and 3.0 million years ago. He retained the ape like face with a sloping forehead. He had a ridge over the eyes. He had a flat nose and a chinless lower jaw. His height was between 3’6” and 5’. He was fully bipedal. The thickness of his bones showed that he was quite strong. His body was similar to that of a human being. The head and face were proportionately much larger. The remains of Australopithecus were found in Kenya.

     Homo habilis was also called The Handy Man because tools were found with his fossil remains. He existed between 2.4 and 1.5 million years ago. The brain size was bigger than that of Australopithecus. His jaw was also lighter than that of his predecessor. As social animals, there was need to communicate and understand one another. Simple language may have evolved at this point. The brain shape shows evidence that some speech had developed. He was 5’ tall. 

    Homo erectus lived between 1.8 million and 300 000 years ago. Towards the end, his brain size was like that of modern human beings. He definitely could speak. Homo erectus developed tools, weapons and fire. He also learned to cook his own food. He travelled out of Africa into China and the southeast Asia. He developed clothing for northern climates. He turned to hunting for his food. Only his head and face differed from those of modern human beings.  

    Homo sapiens lived in Europe and in the Middle East between 150 000 and 35 000 years ago. His brain size averaged larger than modern human being. His head was shaped differently, longer and lower. His nose was large and extremely different from that of modern human beings in structure. He was a massive man, about 5’ 6” tall. He had a heavy skeleton that showed attachments for massive muscles. He was far stronger than modern human beings. His jaw was massive with a receding forehead like that of Homo erectus. 

    Homo sapiens appear to have been replaced by a new species called Homo sapiens sapiens (or modern man), who evolved in Africa and migrated widely in the world. This species is estimated to have come into existence about 200,000 years ago. Fossils of this species have been found in Omo River Valley, north of Lake Turkana, Singa in Sudan and Ngaloba in Tanzania. The brain of Homo sapiens sapiens resembled that of modern man. He was more advanced in speech and technology.

    A number of sites excavated by popular archaeologists of the 20th Century points to this. Dr Leakey worked in the 1960s and 1970s at a site called Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

    Archaeological evidence tells the fact that people in this era lived on scavenged meat. They also ate wild plants. In short, they practised hunting and gathering. 

    Dr Leakey’s works discovered other sites around Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. The discoveries were largely similar to that of Olduvai Gorge. 

    Donald Johansson worked separately from Dr Leakey, a decade later in northern Ethiopia. He found fossils that confirmed great human presence in the region several thousand years before. 

    The life and survival of early man

    The evolution and culture of early man is often studied according to stones ages. These were periods when tools were almost completely made from stone. This grouping applies to Africa, south of the Sahara. In North Africa, the Nile Valley, Europe and Asia, the applicable term is Paleolithic, a Greek word meaning Old Stone. Production of tools marked significant stages in mankind’s progress. The brain-hand-eye coordination and control resulted in tools whose refinement has never ended. Various species of early man manufactured them for different purposes.

    Over time, man spread beyond the few identified spots of originality. He spread to other places on the continent and beyond to other continents. This was influenced by climatic conditions as well as his search for food. Also, man spread while escaping from dangerous animals that could eat him. 

    It also happened as a result of purposeless wandering. Man kept on moving in any direction without any specific point to return to. This is because man was wild, without any element of domestication.


    Fig. 6.1: Illustration showing scientific theory of evolution

     Activity 6.2

    Look at Fig 6.1. Write the differences between the first and last members of the picture.

    Evolution of man

    The evolution of man refers to the stages human beings went through in order to become the present day human beings. There are two theories that explain the evolution of man. These are:

     • The creation theory (Biblical theory) 

    • The scientific theory

    The creation theory/Biblical theory

    Activity 6.3

    Read the following chapters. 

    “Then the LORD God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; He breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.” (Genesis 2:7) 

    “Then the LORD God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, He took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh. He formed a woman out of the rib and brought her to him.” (Genesis 2:21-22) 

    “So God created human beings, making them to be like Himself. He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, ‘have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control.’” (Genesis 1:27-28)

    Give the order of events to explain how man came to be according to above chapters.

    This theory explains that humankind was created by God, according to Genesis 1 and 2. God moulded man from soil and later a woman from man’s rib ( Adam and Eve). The two were given responsibility to reproduce and fill the earth.

    The scientific theory

    Activity 6.4

    Describe the process above.

    The modern theory concerning the evolution of humankind has a different view. It proposes that humans and apes derived from an ape-like ancestor. The ape-like ancestor lived on earth a few million years ago. 

    The theory states that humankind emerged through a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Humankind emerged as a species to produce the variety of ethnicities seen today. It further states that modern apes evolved on a separate evolutionary pathway. 

    Perhaps the most famous proponent of evolution theory was Charles Darwin (1809-82). He authored on The Origin of Species (1859) to describe his theory of evolution. Since then, humankind’s origin has generally been explained from an evolutionary perspective. 

    Moreover, the theory of man’s evolution has been and continues to be modified. New findings are discovered and revisions to the theory are adopted. Earlier concepts that have proven incorrect are discarded.

    Stone age period

    Activity 6.5

    1. Write down the tools that people in your local area use in agriculture. 

    2. Explain the use of each tool.

                                                          Did you know?

    Stones were used to carry out the activities you have mentioned above.

    Stone Age is a period that precedes History. It was the period when human beings did not know how to read and write. 

    Pre-history is made up of three periods: 

    • Early Stone Age (1,500,000-750,000 BC) 

    • Middle Stone Age (750,000-300,000 BC)

     • Late Stone Age (300,000-50,000 BC)

    Archaeologists and historians have referred to this period as Stone Age Period. This is because major tools used at that time were made out of stones. 

    Discoveries made in Stone Age period 

    Early Stone Age period (Palaeolithic) 

    • During this period, man’s activities were hunting and gathering food from forests. 

    • Man was living a wandering life and lived on trees. 

    • Man was shaping stones into double edged hand axe that was used in hunting.

    Fig. 6.2: Middle Stone Age

    Fig. 6.3: Stone tools

    The Middle Stone Age period (Mesolithic) 

    • During this period, there was improved method of making shaped flakes from bigger stones. The flakes became tools for cutting meat, scraping skins and sharpening of weapons. 

    • Man learnt to bind together stones into wooden handles which was called hafting. They were able to make improved tools such as ropes and poisoned arrows for hunting. 

    • Man invented fire and used it for roasting meat, warming himself and scaring away wild animals. 

    • Man continued with food gathering, that is, collecting fruits, leaves, stems and roots.

     • Man started keeping domestic animals such as dogs, cats and goats. 

    • Man started living in caves and forming small families.

     • Man invented fishhooks and canoes.

    Fig. 6.4: Some domestic animals


    We need to preserve and conserve ‘the country of a thousand hills’ because it is our heritage.

    Late Stone Age/Neolithic period

    This is the period when human beings started making great changes.  They improved their ways of life. It is characterised by the following: 

    • They started constructing small huts using grass, trees and skins. 

    • They settled in a permanent place and stopped wandering. 

    • They started putting on skins and woven clothes. 

    • They began farming in order to produce their own food. This constitutes a revolution known as a Neolithic revolution. 

    • They used fertilisers and storage facilities. 

    • They started living in villages and forming communities. 

    • They increased domestication of several domestic animals such as horses, cows, sheep and pigs.

     • They started iron working and began using iron tools such as machetes, hoes and knives. They used less stone tools. 

    • They started using better tools for hunting such as spears, arrows and bows. 

    • They made rules and regulations to have law and order in the societies. 

    • They began to bury the dead in graves instead of leaving them to rot on the ground. 

    • They started exchanging items with other communities (trade).

    Fig. 6.5: Shelter used by early man

    Characteristics of hunter gatherer societies 

    (i) People lived by wandering from place to place. They moved from one place to another. 

    (ii) People lived in groups or communities based on their lineages and clans. 

    (iii) The major economic activities were hunting wild animals and gathering wild fruits for food. 

    (iv) Informal education was administered from parents to children. 

    (v) Stone tools were mainly used for cutting meat and for protection. 

    (vi) The societies had no laws to govern them because they lived a semipermanent life. 

    (vii) In these societies, land was owned communally, not individually. Everyone had a right to settle where they wanted. 

    (viii) Herbal medicine was used to treat wounds, coughs and diseases such as malaria. 

    (ix) Intermarriages were common among people, but on consent of parents from both parties. 

    (x) The societies had no hierarchical social structure of administration.

    Revision questions

    1. Explain the origin of humankind. 

    2. Discuss humankind’s major discoveries in the Neolithic period. 

    3. Explain why Africa is called the cradle land of man.  

    4. Describe some developments of man during the middle stone age. 

    5. Explain the importance of fire to early man. 

    6. Differentiate between modern human beings and apes.


    Origin and elements of Egyptian civilisation 

    Activity 7.1

    Use the map of Africa in your atlas to locate the following:

    • Egypt 

    • River Nile 

    • Cairo

    River Nile is the longest river in the world. It flows all the way from Lake Victoria in Uganda to Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. The history of the Egyptian civilisation is as long and old as that of River Nile.

    The roots of Egyptian civilisation go back more than 6,000 years. The roots start from the beginning of settled life along the banks of River Nile. The country has an unusual geographical and cultural unity. That has given the Egyptian people a strong sense of identity. It has also given them pride in their heritage as descendants of humankind’s earliest civilised community. 

    Certain events have been crucial to the development of Egyptian society and culture. One of these was the unification of the Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. This happened sometimes in the third millennium BC. 

    The unification of the Upper Egypt and lower Egypt was an important event in Egyptian history. It was compared to the ‘first time’, or the creation of the universe. With the unification of the ‘two lands’ by the legendary King Menes, the glorious Pharaonic age began. Power was centralised in the hands of a god-king, and thus, Egypt became the first organised society.

    Elements of Egyptian civilisation

    Activity 7.2

    Use the knowledge obtained from Unit 4 about the civilisation of precolonial Rwanda to answer the following question. 

    State the features of civilisation

    From your findings, you realise out that all world civilisations have many similarities. For example, they started along river valleys. They were based on art, agriculture, religion and political systems.

    The following were some of the elements of Egyptian civilisation: 

    • The ancient Egyptians were the first people of antiquity to believe in life after death. 

    • They were the first to build using stones and to fashion the arch using stones and bricks. 

    • The Egyptians had developed a system of writing. This happened even before the unification of the two lands. 

    Fig. 7.1: An example of ancient Egypt writing on a stone tablet

    • They were accomplished sailors and ship builders. 

    • They learned to chart the heavens in order to predict the Nile floods. 

    • Their physicians prescribed healing remedies and performed surgical operations. 

    • They sculpted in stone. They also decorated the walls of their tombs with naturalistic murals in vibrant colours. 

    The legacy of the ancient Egypt is written in stone across the face of the country. It starts from the pyramids of Upper Egypt. It goes up to the rock tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It extends to the Old Kingdom temples of Luxor and Karnak. It continues to the Ptolemaic temples of Edfu and Dendera and to the Roman temple. It ends at Isis on Philae Island.

    Fig. 7.2: Elements of Egyptian civilisation 

    The Egyptian civilisation history happened in a series of stable periods known as: 

    • The Old Kingdom (2780-223 BC) 

    • The Middle Kingdom (2130- 1600 BC) 

    • The New Kingdom (1500- 1200 BC) 

    The civilisation was separated by periods of relative instability known as intermediate periods. 

    The Old Kingdom (2780-223 BC)

    Egypt had two states, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. These states had different rulers. King Menes united the two states with the capital at Memphis.

    Fig. 7.3: A map of Egypt, Old Kingdom

    During the time of Old Kingdom, civilisation of Egypt took a step ahead. The three great pyramids were built as the tombs of Great Kings. The pyramids were built at places such as Giza and Khufu. It took more than 20 years to build them. 

    The Middle Kingdom (2130-1600 BC)

    During this period, there was a lot of confusion, hate and jealousy. All this was because of the power of the pharaoh over the control of Egypt administration. This was experienced by a new line of pharaohs that took over the administration. They brought calm and unity. In this period, the pharaoh had less power, and was never buried in pyramids. The pharaoh lived a unique life than in the past.

    The Middle Kingdom is notably known when Egypt was attacked and invaded. It was attacked and invaded by Hyksos from western Asia. They governed, ruled and controlled Egypt for more than 150 years. Prince Ahmose staged an uprising against the Hyksos, which consequently led to their defeat. They were pushed out of Egypt.

    Fig. 7.4: A map of Egypt, Middle Kingdom

    The New Kingdom (1500-1200 BC) 

    Just like other pharaohs, Ahmose continued with the line of duty that made Egypt expand. Egypt became richer too. It was during this reign that the Egyptian empire was established. Egypt expanded and brought Syria and Palestine under its control. This brought glory and a good image to Egyptians and beyond. 

    Egypt’s economy improved drastically through trade. Its cities grew larger and borders extended in conquest wars.

    Fig. 7.5: A map of Egypt, New Kingdom

    Contributions of Egyptian civilisation to the modern world

    Activity 7.3

    1. a)    Give a list of the subjects you study in Senior 

     b)  For each of the subjects you mentioned above, give an importance.

    You must have realised that all subjects that are taught in school are very important. These subjects are interdependent too. Link your findings to the following fields: 

    (i) Hieroglyphics

     This was the earliest Egyptians type of writing where pictures, symbols and signs were used to represent ideas. It was later copied by other countries to come up with modern writing. 

    (ii) Mummification

     This was the conservation of the dead bodies. The Egyptians believed in life after death, and took great care to bury their dead. The pharaohs and some nobles had their bodies preserved. This has prevailed to date. 

    (iii) Medicine 

    Egyptians contributed so much in field of medicine. They were the first specialist eye doctors, dentists, veterinary doctors and surgeon doctors. 

    (iv) Paper

     Egyptians invented paper and books from papyrus. This led to introduction of paper and books for record keeping. 

    (v) Calendar

     Egyptians were the first people to devise the means of counting days in a week, month and year. It is this that led to the introduction of modern calendar. 

    (vi) Irrigation

     Egyptians had the system of irrigation called Shadoofs and Sakias. They also had the system of digging canals. The canals were for the distribution of water in fields hence giving rise to modern irrigation. 

    (vii) Mathematics

     Egyptians were people remembered to be so good in Mathematics. They developed modern mathematical concepts such as fractions, addition, multiplication, division and subtraction. These concepts are still being used. 

    (viii) Architecture  

    Egyptians were excellent builders using stones. They built the great pyramids, temples and tombs. These styles are still applied in modern society. 

    (ix) Science 

    Egyptians made an important contribution to the science of astronomy. This practice was copied and is used in modern societies.

    (x) Art  

    Egyptians were specialists in arts. They had coloured paintings to adorn the sides of monuments, walls of temples, palaces and tombs. This gave rise to modern art and craft.

     (xi) Technology

     Egyptians had developed a glassy material known as faience. Faience is believed to have contributed to modern technology of making glasses. 

    We can comfortably conclude that Egyptian civilisation is still felt in the current world.

    Activity 7.4

    Look at your school environment and identify any four things that were adopted from the Egyptian civilisation.

    Fig. 7.6: Egyptian architecture and art works 

    Influence of Egyptians’ religious beliefs on ancient Egypt 

    Activity 7.5

    1. Identify four religious denominations in Rwanda. 

    2. Discuss the role of religion in your community.

    Religion plays a very important role in the society. It tells us about equality of human beings before God. It influences our society the same way it did to the Egyptian society. 

    The Egyptians were very religious. Religion was part and parcel of their life. They had a clear idea of the life after death. 

    Egyptians worshipped many gods. Every village, town and district had at least one god. The Egyptian gods exceeded three thousands. The most important ones included: 

    (i) Sun-god (Ra). 

    (ii) The god of the Nile and judge of the dead (Osiris) 

    (iii) The wife of Osiris (Isis)

    Fig. 7.7: Egyptian gods

    Religion acted as a unifying factor to all the Egyptians under the same umbrella of civilisation. They became strong believers in religion, a thing that laid a foundation of the Egyptian culture.

    Religious beliefs also promoted political stability of the Egyptians. They believed in their leaders (pharaohs) as having divine powers. The pharaohs were also religious leaders. 

    Religious beliefs promoted a sense of discipline and respect as a social norm among the Egyptians. They had it in mind that the gods would punish them in case of indiscipline. They also believed that the gods would reward you in case you appeased them. The Egyptians appeased their gods by doing good deeds and offering sacrifice. 

    Religious beliefs also influenced Egyptians’ economic activities such as agriculture. There was a god for better harvests for their crops. 

    The Egyptians had their god for the Nile. They believed that this god protected them against floods.


    Religions teach us to love on another and to promote peace.

    Revision questions 

    1. Explain why River Nile is considered as the lifeline of Egypt. 

    2. State the use of papyrus in ancient Egypt. 

    3. Explain ways through which ancient Egypt contributed to the civilisation of modern world. 

    4.  a) Name the three main kingdoms of Egypt. 

    b) State the events that took place in those kingdoms during ancient Egyptian civilisation. 

    5. a) State the name given to Egyptian type of writing. 

    b) Give its contribution to modern civilisation. 

    6. a) Define the term ‘irrigation’. 

    b) Give reasons why it was important during Egyptian civilisation.


    Rise and organisation of Trans-Saharan Trade

    Activity 8.1

    1. Use a dictionary to find the meanings of the following: 

    (a) trans 

    (b) trade 

    2. Using an atlas, identify and list the major deserts of Africa. 

    3. Describe the characteristics of desert climate.

    One of the deserts that you have mentioned probably is Sahara Desert. Sahara Desert is the biggest desert in Africa. The Trans-Saharan Trade was conducted across it. 

    Trans-Saharan Trade was carried out between North African Berbers and the West African Negroes. It was carried out across the Sahara Desert. Some historians suggested that the trade might have begun in the 2nd century. 

    The volume of trade remained low until camels were introduced form Asia. After that the volume of trade increased. 

    Fig. 8.1: A section of Sahara Desert: Trans-Saharan Trade took place across this desert

    Furthermore, the trade gained momentum in the 7th Century when the Arabs conquered North Africa. The conquest forced the Berbers to migrate southwards. Consequently, it gave them a greater advantage to participate in the trade. By the 11th Century, a profitable trade had been developed. During this trade, the Berbers from North Africa acted as middle men.

    Reasons for the rise and development Trans-Saharan Trade 

    Activity 8.2

    Case study 

    Neza started a small retail shop in Kibuye Town. After three years, she turned it into a wholesale shop. It did not take long before she opened a very big supermarket to replace the wholesale shop. Currently, she hopes to start a new firm. 

    State the possible reasons that may have led to the expansion of Neza’s business. 

    For a long period of time, Trans-Saharan Trade was so remote and very backward. But with time, the trade came to grow and develop. The following factors show the reasons behind the growth and expansion of Trans-Saharan Trade.

    (i) Introduction of Camels 

    The introduction of camels greatly helped in its improvement, especially in the means of transport. In addition to the above, the camels could also carry large amounts of goods. They could also take long without drinking water. 

    (ii) Emergence of West African empires

     Some of such important empires included Mali, Ghana and Songhai. The existence of such empires assured the traders of security. It also encouraged more people to join the trade. 

    (iii) The conquest of North Africa by the Arabs

     This forced the Berbers to migrate southwards. They finally reached West Africa. That marked the beginning of the trade. Furthermore, they introduced a common language (Arabic). This encouraged the coming of more Arabs who participated in the trade thereby developing it.

    (iv) The spread of Islamic religion in West Africa 

    With the spread of Islam in West Africa, Muslim traders felt secure to carry out trade. Islam acted as a uniting factor. Islam also increased trade in Islamic books and Arabic textiles. 

    (v) Re-production of different commodities by West and North Africa

     This led to the need of exchanging goods produced in the two regions. It eventually led to the development of the trade. 

    (vi) The presence of the Tuaregs and Berbers 

    The Tuaregs of the desert maintained wells and guided traders. 

    (vii) High profits 

    The trade grew because of the high profits that were involved. This attracted many more people to join. 

    (viii)  Absence of natural barriers 

    There were no natural barriers such as lakes and mountains between North Africa and West Africa. This made movement of goods and people easy. 


    Trans-Saharan Trade was done the same way trade is done today. The only difference is that there was no standard medium of exchange in form of money. 

    The Organisation of Trans-Saharan Trade

    Activity 8.3

    Make a visit to a market near where you stay. 

    1. Identify the people involved in trading activities. 

    2. Write down a list of major goods sold in that market. 

    3. Find out how the goods reach that market.

    Just like any other trade, Trans-Saharan Trade had participants and specific goods of trade. It was well organised as can be seen in the following subheadings: 

    1. Participants 

    The groups of people which were involved in the trade included the following:

    (a) The Berbers 

    These were the people of North Africa. They played the following roles: 

    • Controlling the trade 

    • Providing capital 

    • Organising the caravans across the desert 

    • Employing the Tuaregs who acted as guides 

    (b) The Tuaregs 

    These were the people of the Sahara Desert. They played the following roles in the trade: 

    • Providing water for the caravans 

    • Providing food for the caravans 

    • Acting as guides to the caravans across the desert 

    • Providing labour in the salt mines 

    (c) The Negroes

     These were the people of West Africa. They played the following roles: 

    • Owning the gold mines 

    • Providing agricultural products 

    • Working as slave raiders 

    • Providing security to the traders in West Africa 

    • Acting as a market to European products 

    (d) Europeans and Arabs

     They brought goods from Europe and Asia to North Africa. They exchanged these goods for West African products. 

    2. Items or goods traded in Trans-Saharan Trade

    The major products which were involved were in two forms:  

    (i) Goods from North Africa to West Africa 

    (ii) Goods from West Africa to North 

    Africa Goods from North Africa to West Africa included weapons, clothes, beads, medicine and salt. 

    Goods from West Africa to North Africa included the following: 

    • Gold 

    • Ivory

    • Silver 

    • Skins and hides 

    • Food stuffs  

    • Slaves 

    • Kola nuts 

    • Ostrich feathers

    Fig. 8.2: Kola nuts and ivory 

    They initially practised barter trade. Later, they introduced cowrie shells as a medium of exchange. Barter trade proved to be inconvenient and unreliable. 

    Fig. 8.3: Cowrie shells 

    3. Trade routes used during the trade

    There were four major routes. These were:

     • The western route from Fez to Sijilmasa, Taghaza and ended in Timbuktu. 

    • The central route from Ghadames up to Kano in the south. 

    • The eastern route from Tripoli to Bilma up to Lake Chad in the south.

    • The route from Egypt to the western parts of Africa. However, this was not commonly used.

    Fig. 8.4: Trans-Saharan Trade routes

    4. Means of transport during Trans-Saharan Trade

    At the beginning, traders used to move on foot while carrying out trade (head portage). Later in the 4th Century, camels were introduced and eased means of transport. This greatly increased the volume of trade. Camels were suitable for desert conditions in addition to carrying heavier load.

    Fig. 8.5: Trade caravan

    Problems faced by the traders during the Trans-Saharan Trade 

    Activity 8.4

    Visit a nearby trading centre. Have a dialogue with the traders on the following: 

    1. How they pay taxes 

    2. The problems they encounter as they run their businesses 

    3. How they keep security for their goods 

    Write down your findings in your note books.

    Any trader may face challenges during trade. The traders you visited and talked to must have confirmed this to you. Traders who participated in the Trans-Saharan Trade faced some challenges. The challenges have been discussed below. 

    (i) Language barrier: The traders could not communicate easily while transacting. So, they used signs and gestures. The use of signs and gestures was not very effective. 

    (ii)  Long distance: It could take 2-3 months to travel from North Africa to West Africa and coming back. 

    (iii)  Water shortage: Oases were few and far, and located far apart. They could sometimes dry up. 

    (iv)  Sand storms: Strong desert winds disturbed the traders. 

    (v)  Inadequate weights and measures: This made it difficult to determine the weights of goods in order to find their value. 

    (vi)  Barter trade: It had challenges such as transportation means, storage facilities and determination of values of goods. 

    (vii) Locating routes: The traders also faced a problem of locating routes that they were to follow. This was because they did not have compasses to use. 

    (viii) Harsh climate: The problem of the harsh climate also disrupted the trade activities. It was extremely hot during the day and very cold during the night. 

    (ix) Inadequate facilities: Storage facilities were inadequate. Some of the goods could get spoilt, especially agricultural goods. 

    (x) Heavy goods: Some of the goods they carried were very heavy and transporting such goods became difficult.

    (xi) Heavy taxes imposed on the traders also limited the traders’ profits. 

    (xii) Civil wars also put the lives of the traders at a big risk. Some could get killed while crossing such areas. 

    (xiii) Dishonest traders could disappear without paying or supplying goods agreed upon. (xiv) Highway robbers could steal the goods from the traders or even kill them. 

    (xv) Wild animals such as hyenas, snakes, lions and leopards scared and on some occasions killed the traders. 


    The Rwandan government is emphasising standardisation culture or quality principles. This is to ensure that its citizens get the best quality products for a worthy cost. This helps to overcome problems like those experienced during the Trans–Saharan Trade. During that time, people gave in much for less. For example, beads for gold, and a gun for hundreds of people (slaves).

    Effects of the Trans–Saharan Trade

    Activity 8.5

    Discuss the socio-economic importance of the market you visited in Activity 8.3 to the community.

    The market you visited above serve similar importance like the TransSaharan Trade. Both provide employment opportunities and foster economic development in terms of taxes. The effects Trans-Saharan Trade were:  

    (i)  The trade led to the exploitation of African resources such as minerals, ivory and agricultural products. That led to their exhaustion. 

    (ii)  It led to the introduction of new commodities in West Africa such as beads, clothes and guns. 

    (iii)  It led to the development of many trading centres/towns that grew into big cities. Such centres were Tripoli, Fez, and Timbuktu.

    (iv)  It led to the development of trade routes that have become permanent roads till today.

    (v)  The trade also provided employment opportunities to many people such as guides, guards and porters. It improved their standards of living. 

    (vi)  Many people who participated in the trade became rich. For instance, kings of West Africa and the Arabs. 

    (vii)  The trade also created a lot of suffering to the Africans. Most of them were taken into slavery. 

    (viii) It also led to depopulation of many areas due to slavery. 

    (ix)  It led to the introduction of Islam into West Africa. This was due to the participation of many Arabs in the trade. 

    (x)  It led to intermarriages between the Arabs and the Africans. This gave rise to a new race of coloured Africans. 

    (xi)  It led to the spread of Islamic education. For example, Islamic universities were established in Mali and Songhai. 

    (xii) The trade also brought many Arabs into West Africa. These Arabs settled there permanently. 

    (xiii)  The trade also created a lot of insecurity as guns were brought in big numbers. 

    (xiv) It also brought Islamic architecture into West Africa. Most of the buildings resembled those of the Islamic world. 

    (xv)  It introduced camels into North and West Africa. The camels were the major means of transport. 

    (xvi)  It led to the decline of local industries because of the introduction of cheap foreign goods. 

    (xvii)  The trade led to the rise and expansion of empires such as Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. This was because the empires got a lot of wealth in form of taxes from the trade. 

    (xviii)  The Arabic culture including language, dressing and cooking was introduced. 

    (xix)  The trade created a permanent relationship between North and West Africa, and the Arab world. 

    (xx)  It led to the European colonisation of Africa because European powers wanted to stop slave trade.

    Reasons for the decline of the Trans–Saharan Trade

    Activity 8.6 

    Propose steps that can be taken to avoid business failure.

    Any trading activity may collapse due to certain factors. Trans-Saharan Trade also declined due to the following factors: 

    (i)  Slave trade was abolished and thus Trans-Saharan Trade could not continue. Slaves were an important item of the trade. 

    (ii)  The introduction of cheap European goods made the African goods to lose market. This led to the decline of Trans-Saharan Trade. 

    (iii)  Increasing insecurity along the trade routes also discouraged the traders leading to its decline. 

    (iv)  The trade declined because of the discovery of gold in other parts of the world.  For example, the discovery of gold in America. 

    (v)  It also declined due to the constant shortage of water. Most oases dried up. 

    (vi)  The death of important kings led to the decline of the trade. Such kings included Mansa Musa of Mali Empire and Askia Mohammed of Songhai Empire. 

    (vii)  The trade declined because of the downfall of some West African empires. Such empires included Mali, Songhai, and Ghana. 

    (viii) The rise and development of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade led to the decline of Trans-Saharan Trade. Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was more profitable than Trans-Saharan Trade. 

    (ix)  The trade also declined because of high taxation imposed on the traders in West Africa. High taxation reduced their profits. 

    (x)  The discovery of the sea route through the Mediterranean Sea to West Africa also led to its decline. 

    (xi)  There was a shortage of raw materials such as gold and ivory. This led to the decline of Trans-Saharan Trade. 

    (xii)  The colonisation of Africa by the European powers made these Europeans to become controllers of Africa. This led to the decline of Trans-Saharan Trade.


    Trade is conducted for purposes of profits. When profit is well managed through savings and investments, it creates positive socio-economic changes on society. It changes people’s standards of living, increasing savings and reducing dependency ratios.

    Revision questions

    1. Describe the organisation of Trans-Saharan Trade. 

    2.  Examine the factors for the growth and development of Trans-Saharan Trade. 

    3. Highlight the challenges that the traders faced during the TransSaharan Trade. 

    4. Analyse the factors for the decline of Trans-Saharan Trade. 

    5. Discuss the effects of Trans-Saharan Trade.


    Activity 9.1

    1. From your knowledge of Unit 8 about the Trans-Saharan Trade, write down the meanings of ‘trans’ and ‘trade’. 

    2. Using an atlas, identify oceans of the world.

    The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was the trade which involved Europe, West Africa and the West Indies (America). It was also called the Triangular Trade. This was because the ships used made three stages in the course of their journey. That is, from Europe to West Africa, America and back to Europe. This made the shape of a triangle.

    Fig. 9.1: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade routes

    Origin of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

    Activity 9.2

    When mangoes are in plenty, their price goes down. In this case, supply exceeds demand. On the other hand, when mangoes are out of season, their price goes up. In this case, demand exceeds supply. 

    Define the terms ‘demand’ and ‘supply’.

    Trade is necessitated by forces of demand and supply. Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade started and thrived as a result of these forces.

    Slaves were demanded by European countries even after the decline of Trans-Saharan Trade. This gave a boost to Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The origin of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade can be traced to as early as 1441. 

    It started when Gonzalves, a Portuguese explorer in West Africa, took ten slaves to Portugal. He took them initially as missionary trainees, but later turned them to be slaves. The slaves looked energetic. This marked the beginning of Triangular Trade especially after Portuguese developed Port Elmina. Port Elmina was developed in 1482 to handle the trade. 

    Various European countries such as Britain, France, Spain, Dutch and Portugal scrambled for slaves. They scrambled for slaves from West Africa to America (New Found Lands) because of free labour. 

    European countries needed agricultural raw materials to feed their home industries. They would then bring their manufactured goods to West Africa. The goods included guns, salt, clothes, mirrors, shoes, tea and sugar. 

    Factors for the rise, growth and development of TransAtlantic Slave Trade 

    Activity 9.3

    1. Look at Activity 8.2 again. 

    2. Re-write the reasons that may have led to Neza’s success in business.

    Some of the reasons that you gave in reference to Activity 8.2 are very important. They help us to see the link between Trans-Saharan Trade and Triangular Trade. They help us analyse factors that led to development of the two trades.

    Let us now look at the factors that led to the rise and growth of Triangular Trade

    (i) The Industrial Revolution in Europe: Industrialists needed raw materials and market for their manufactured goods. The Europeans resorted to Africans for market. In return, they obtained slaves who were sold to European plantation owners in exchange for raw materials. 

    (ii) The discovery of America and West Indies by Spain in 1492: The discovery of America and West Indies was one important factor. The subsequent occupation of these areas by other European countries was another factor. Both factors led to the rise and growth of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. 

    (iii) The decline of Trans-Saharan Trade: This led to the rise of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. There was a constant demand for slaves and commodities thereafter. 

    (iv) The introduction of armed conflicts in African politics:  This prompted the need to acquire European arms and ammunitions. Other factors were: 

    (i) The trade was profitable to the Europeans and Africans who were involved in it. African chiefs and other participants got European goods which were of high value. 

    (ii) There was a desire by African chiefs to get wealth and political power. This could be obtained through the acquisition of arms and maintaining friendship with Europeans. 

    (iii) There was the growth of new merchants in Europe as feudalism was declining. The new merchants of Europe wanted to accumulate a lot of wealth. This became a justification to participate in the Triangular Trade. 

     (iv) There was development of consumer culture among the African chiefs. There was also the need for the European goods. These two needs encouraged the Africans to sell their fellow Africans into slavery. 

    (v) There was increased demand for certain luxurious goods such as sugar, alcohol, clothes and mirrors. This demand led to rise and growth of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. 

    (vi) The winds and ocean currents helped to steer the European ships to America and Africa. These were the north-east trade winds and the north equatorial currents.

    (vii) Africans were considerably physically fit. They could withstand harsh climatic conditions in America compared to Europeans or Asians.

    (viii) The supply of firearms became a factor for the development of Triangular Trade. Africans wanted to acquire firearms to defend themselves against enemies and calm down internal wars. 

    Organisation of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

    The Triangular Trade was linked, organised and conducted along the great triangle. The triangle linked three continents of Europe, Africa and America. 

    • From Europe to Africa: Ships would carry traders and manufactured goods such as guns, gunpowder, clothes, beads and utensils. 

    • From Africa to America: Africans would receive manufactured goods and in return give Europeans slaves. They also sold ivory, bee-wax, honey and tortoise shells. Europeans would then head to America. 

    • From America to Europe: Slaves in America would grow cash crops such as cotton, coffee, tea, sugar cane and tobacco. They would also exploit minerals such as iron ore, copper, gold and diamond. These raw materials would be shipped to Europe to feed their home industries.

    Activity 9.4

    Draw a big triangle on a manila paper. 

    • Mark the top angle as Europe.

     • Mark the angle on your right as West Africa. 

    • Mark the angle on your left as America (West Indies). 

    • On each angle, indicate the goods involved.

    The European merchants did not go into the interior of Africa to capture slaves. The African chiefs, traders and wealthy people could take them to Europeans at a cost. Africans were enslaved in five ways. These were: 

    a) Criminals were sold by chiefs as a punishment. 

    b) Free Africans were captured in raids by African and European gangs. 

    c) Domestic slaves were resold to Europeans. 

    d) Prisoners of war and debtors who failed to pay would be sold. 

    e)  Porters who went carrying goods to the coast were normally kidnapped and sold into slavery. 

    Kings and chiefs carried out constant raids and slaves were bartered for the European goods.  Later on, cowrie shells were introduced as money as a medium of exchange.

    Fig. 9.2: Slave trade 

    Slaves captured in the interior were made to match in caravans for long distances. Their arms and neck were tied to each other. Slaves had no sufficient water and food. However, those who refused or failed to continue were killed. Some were tied on the trees and left to be eaten by wild animals. 

    At the coast, slaves were inspected and branded then taken to America. They were made to work in cotton, sugar cane, tobacco and tea plantations. They also worked in gold and silver mines. 

    Slaves worked for long hours with little food and rest. They suffered from physical weakness (fatigue), poor living conditions and harsh treatment.  Most of them died. 

    The products of their labour were taken to feed the European industries. The industries made products which were again taken to West Africa for exchange of slaves. The trade continued in that cycle.

    Fig. 9.3: Slaves packed in a ship during Triangular Trade

    Effects of Trans-Atlantic Trade

    Activity 9.5 

    1. Define the term ‘migration’. 

    2. Discuss the effects of migration

    Migration of people comes with various effects. These effects can be social, political or economic. Triangular Trade too had some effects. The effects have been discussed below. 

    Social effects

    (i) It led to depopulation of many areas through constant wars and raids. Approximately 15.4 million people were exported. 

    (ii) It led to dehumanisation of human beings. That is, human beings lost value and were reduced to minor items. 

    (iii) Raids and wars displaced many people from their homes while others ran away into hiding. 

    (iv) There was general moral decay in Africa. The punishments which used to be given to the offenders in the society were ignored. Instead, they were sold into slavery. 

    (v) Africans were disposed to different parts of the world to form new races. Some were sent to America, Portugal, France and Spain. 

    (vi) It greatly accelerated the spread of Christianity in predominantly Islamic states of West Africa. 

    Political effects

    (i) It led to the growth of trading states such as Calabar and Bonny along the coast. 

    (ii) It led to the growth and expansion of some empires in West Africa. Most of those empires such as Dahomey, Oyo and Asante participated in the trade. 

    (iii) It led to the destruction of strong states and empires due to frequent wars and raids. 

    (iv) It delayed the European penetration in the interior of West Africa. This was because the middlemen wanted to maintain their positions. This hindered the development in the interior compared to the coastal towns.

    Economic effects

    (i) It led to the decline of Trans-Saharan Trade. It reversed Africa trade from North Africa towards the coast of West Africa. 

    (ii) Centres of wealth and power moved. They moved from the Sudanese states to forest states and to the coastal trading communities. 

    (iii) It hindered economic development of West Africa because people paid attention on slave trade. People neglected agriculture, industry and legitimate trade. 

    (iv) Art and craft such as pottery and weaving declined. This was because the products made were replaced with European finished goods. 

    (v) Insecurity that prevailed stopped people from carrying out agriculture.  Crops and livestock were destroyed leading to famine. 

    (vi) It benefited the Europeans. The majority in West Africa did not gain much from slave trade. 

    (vii) It encouraged the development of coastal towns and ports such as Accra and Lagos. 

    Problems encountered in Triangular Trade

    Activity 9.6

    Describe challenges that people who are migrating to a distant land are likely to face. 

    (Note: Assume that there are no modern means of transport.)

    You can link the challenges of migration in Activity 9.6 with Triangular Trade. You realise that the challenges of migration are related with those of Triangular Trade. Let us now look at the problems that were encountered during Triangular Trade.

    (i) Poor means of exchange: They initially practised barter trade. Later, cowrie shells were introduced as a medium of exchange. Barter system of trade proved to be inconsistent and unfair in the trade. 

    (ii)  Language barrier: The people of West Africa could not talk the languages of the Europeans. This made trade a bit more difficult and complicated. 

    (iii) Hostile tribes: Some tribes in West Africa were harsh and hostile. Traders could not penetrate through and carry out hunting and raids of slaves. This made trade a bit difficult.

    (iv) Food shortage: Traders could at times run out of food. Agriculture was rarely practised in villages because of constant hunting of slaves. 

    (v) Poor communication network: Roads and railways were not there. Traders were forced to move and walk long distances in the forests of West Africa. 

    (vi) Wild animals: Traders encountered a problem of wild animals such as leopards, lions and hyenas. The animals threatened their movements in the forests of West Africa.

     (vii) Diseases: Traders were affected by diseases such as sleeping sickness and malaria which killed some of them. 

    (viii) High taxes on trade items: African chiefs demanded high taxes from the traders. This later on demoralised traders because they made little profits.

    Reasons for the abolition of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

    Activity 9.7 

    Pick out the negative effects of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. (Refer to Activity 9.5)

    Critically looked at, the negative effects show why it was necessary to abolish the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The following were some of the reasons for the abolition of the trade: 

    (i) The British government, through parliament, banned (stopped) slavery in 1807. It was found out that free labour was cheaper than forced labour. 

    (ii) Some humanitarians realised that slavery and slave trade were illegal both before God and before the Law. They started the campaigns for its abolition. 

    (iii) Slaves in the plantations often rioted, killed their masters and destroyed their property. 

    (iv) Economic factors in Europe led to the abolition of slave trade. For example, as a result of Industrial Revolution, machines could do work better than labour. Therefore, human labour of slaves was no longer needed. 

    (v) Britain and other European countries needed market in West Africa. They could not get it before establishing conditions. Therefore, they had to abolish slave trade.

    (vi) The British industrialists needed more raw materials such as cotton for textile industries. They also needed palm oil to lubricate their industry machines. They agreed that slaves should be set free.

     (vii) It was the British national interest to abolish slave trade. This was because if Trans-Atlantic Trade continued, it would have reduced the growth of industries.

     (viii) Brazil and Cuba started to produce sugar cane in large quantities in the 19th Century. It was cheaper in European markets. Britain felt that slave trade was no longer profitable. 

    (ix) The American Revolution of 1776 against the British colonial masters undermined slave trade. Colonies in America declared themselves independent. Britain changed her attitudes towards these colonies. Britain started to invest in industries which needed less human labour. 

    (x) The introduction and development of legitimate trade made the abolition of slave trade possible. It created a new type of economy, where European and African traders would benefit. It was profitable to sell raw materials than selling slaves. It was also cheaper to transport raw materials than slaves. 

    (xi) The French Revolution of 1789 emphasised liberty, fraternity, solidarity and equality of all human beings. The revolution helped to create awareness about human rights. 

    (xii) The rise of men with new ideas in Europe. Great thinkers (philosophers) such as Voltaire preached against slave trade and slavery in the world.

     (xiii) The declaration of independence of the Maroons (ex-slaves) in Jamaica. This raised a lot of concern. Slave owners started looking at slaves as a liability than as an asset. 

    (xiv) The exploration of the interior of West Africa by Europeans helped to abolish slave trade. The European and African associations were interested in the scientific and geographical problems.  They were also interested in market for European manufactured goods. Slaves were no longer an issue to recon with. 

    (xv) The new policy of colonisation of Africa could not succeed if slave trade was still on. In order to colonise and exploit African resources, it was important to first stop slave trade. It was only then that the colonialists could make themselves acceptable in Africa. 

    Revision questions

    1. Explain why Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade is commonly referred to as ‘Triangular Trade’. 

    2. Explain the origin of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

     3. Triangular Trade had to rise, grow and develop because of various factors. Mention at least eight factors. 

    4. Explain the effects of Triangular Trade on West Africa, Europe and America. 

    5. Clearly elaborate the organisation of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade before the 19th Century. 

    6. Explain the reasons that led to the collapse of Triangular Trade in the 19th Century.



    Sub-Topic Area 1:  Human Rights, Citizen Duties and   Responsibilities Unit 

    10:  Concept of human rights, citizen duties and responsibilities and ways of preventing human rights violations 

    Activity 10.1

    1. Using the internet, research on the meaning of the term ‘human rights’. 

    2. Give a list of things that you feel you must have as a human being. 

    Whatever people deserve as human beings, but have no harm to the society, are human rights. 

    Concept of human rights

    Human rights are rights which are inherent by the mere fact of being human. The concept of human rights is based on a belief. The belief is that every human being is entitled to enjoy his or her rights. The rights should be enjoyed without discrimination. Human rights differ from other rights in two ways.

    Firstly, they are characterised by being inherent in all human beings by virtue of their humanity. They do not have to be purchased or to be granted. They are: 

    • Protected by law 

    • Equally applicable to all 

    Secondly, the main duties deriving from human rights fall on states and their authorities or agents. They do not fall on individuals. 

    One important implication of these characteristics is that human rights must themselves be protected. They must be protected by law. Furthermore, any disputes about these rights should be submitted for adjudication. The submission should be done through a competent, impartial and independent tribunal. The tribunal should apply procedures which ensure full equality and fairness to all parties. It should also determine the question in accordance with clear, specific and pre-existing laws. The law must be known to the public and openly declared. 

    Fig. 10.1: United Nations delegates in a meeting 

    Human rights violation

    Activity 10.2 

    1. Using a dictionary, find out the meaning of the word ‘violation’. 

    2. Explain what is meant by the term ‘human rights violation’. 

    3.  Identify occasions where your rights have not been respected as a student.

    Cases of human rights violation 

    In our society today, there exists the following examples of human rights violations: 

    (a) Sexual abuse through rape and defilement 

    (b) Domestic violence, especially gender based violence 

    (c) Child labour (d) Detention without trial 

    (e) Extra judicial killings 

    (f) Denial of the freedom of expression and association 

    Showing concern for human rights violations

    All of us have a part to play in preventing human rights violations. The government also plays an important role in ensuring that human rights are observed. It has achieved this by: 

    (i) Enacting laws to protect or prevent human rights violations. 

    (ii) Imposing stiff penalties to violators of human rights. For instance imprisonment of rapists and sexual abusers for a long period of time, up to 25 years or more. 

    (iii) Supporting media advocacy against violations by ensuring a free reporting of cases of violations and acting on the same when reported. 

    (iv) Educating the public in schools, through mass media and other programmes including supporting NGOs acting against violations. 

    (v) Creating centres for recovery of victims of human rights violations such as Gender Violence Recovery Centres in medical institutions. 

    Activity 10.3

    1. Citing a case where a person’s rights was violated, explain how: 

    (a) People reacted to it 

    (b) The government supported the victim 

    2. What could you have done if you were the victim in the scenario we have highlighted above?

    Ways of preventing human rights violation 

    1. Sensitising people: This can be done through formal or informal education on the basic human rights. This will greatly contribute to the development and change of attitudes that are based on the respect of human life and dignity.  Prevention should be an on-going activity that constantly educates, corrects and influences the people on any desired societal ideal that promote peace. 

    2.  Shun corruption: One of the easiest ways to get violated is giving bribes or soliciting for favours. It is wrong to assume that if you give a bribe, you are likely to get what you need. This is because people who give bribes are usually ready to do anything to get their way, including engaging in corrupt deals. Such people also easily fall prey to violators, because they can be asked to do things that violate their rights just to earn what they are looking for.

    3.  Insist on your rights: By doing this, you will be making the other person accountable for his or her demands. The time you invest in insisting on your rights can be said to be a time devoted to public service for your own good and the general good of the society. 

    4.  Educate the violator: If people are allowed to do the wrong thing unchallenged over and over again, they later see such acts as being a right. This means that, once violating others becomes part and parcel of people, their ability to see it as something wrong dies naturally. Therefore, when you encounter a prospective violator or a confirmed violator, educate them. When you educate a violator, you are indirectly appealing to his or her raw emotions and raising their dead conscience. This is in addition to the fact that you will always insist on your rights and never give in to being violated. 

    5.  Never let go when you are violated: When you are violated by whoever, never let go. You can do this by writing letters, short notes on social media, talking to the media, approaching the authority to complain or even seeking redress. If need be, engage the service of a lawyer or meet human rights organisations for assistance. Note that accepting such violation is like accepting failure. Never accept failure. Continue to challenge it until you defeat it and get justice. 

    6.  Challenge your violator in court: This means that for every abuse or violation you suffer, there is compensation awaiting you to claim it. Worthy to equally note is that, in a country where public officers violate people with ease, some people’s job is claiming compensation from violators. They have no other business. Claim yours. 

    7.  Never violate others: We are expected to protect people and not to violate them in whatever capacity we are, just as we expect not to be violated. Some people violate others where they are powerful, and cry for being violated in another way. Knowing how bad we feel when we are violated, we should also try to avoid the temptation of making others go through what we don’t want to go through. 

    8.  Speak politely and softly: Speaking rudely to a violator is not a good way to correct them or to protect your right. Actually, it may make the victim prone to more violation. When you speak to people harshly, they tend to reply you in the same manner, and if they are in the position to do more than talk, they do so with anger. You must cultivate the habit of speaking politely while maintaining your stand.  

    9.  Follow up till the end: As soon as you report the case to higher authorities, it is your duty to always follow up the case. Even in court, you must follow up to get justice. It is wrong to report a case and never follow it up. It would be assumed that you are not sure of what you reported. However, when you report a case, always spare time to go ask about the progress and be willing to add additional information if need be. If they abandon your report and you show up asking, definitely, they must continue to work on it until the end. If you do not follow it up, you will have helped the violator commit the violence. 

    10.  Role of the media: When incidences of human rights violations are reported or highlighted by the media, they serve to: 

    • Caution violators against the behaviour because of negative publicity. 

    • Inform relevant authorities (including human rights organisations and the police) of an atrocity that needs to be investigated or punished. 

    • Enlighten the public on the possibility of occurrence of certain violations. 

    • Expose what could have gone unnoticed by many people. 

    • Educate people on how to avoid being victims of such acts of violations. 

    11.  Role of the police: When a person who has been violated reports the case to the police, they usually investigate and in some cases arrest the violator. This may be followed by a court process if the case is confirmed. By so doing, they discourage occurrence of violations. When the police are alerted before the violation occurs, they can help to prevent the violation. Police officers also take part in educating the public of their rights as a way of preventing some of them from occurring.  

    Activity 10.3 

    Discuss more ways in which we can prevent violation of human rights.

    Cases of human rights violation

    An example of cases of human rights violation in Rwanda is the Genocide against the Tutsi. Many peole were killed. Over one million people perished in only 100 days. Tutsi women were raped, others were abducted and tortured.

    Basic human rights with a special focus on gender equality and children’s rights

    Activity 10.4

    Rwanda is one of the countries where people’s rights are respected including women and children. 

    1. Discuss measures put in place to respect children’s rights in your school and community. 

    2. Enquire from your elders at school and at home about the following as far as rights of women and children are concerned: 

    • Isange one stop centre 

    • Umugoroba w’ababyeyi 

    • Abunzi

    Children’s rights 

    A child is a person who has not attained the age of 18 years. Children rights are the rights that children are entitled to, and they can legally claim. Children’s rights include the following: 

    (i) Right to education from the state and parents 

    (ii) Right to good health 

    (iii) Right to basic education 

    (iv) Right of protection against any kind of harm such as physical assault

     Other rights of children are: 

    (i)  Children should not be separated from their parents except by the decision of authorities and court. 

    (ii) The state should protect children from any kind of violence including sexual exploitation. 

    (iii) The state should look after children without families. It should provide suitable protection and settlement for them. 

    (iv)  Handicapped children are entitled to medical care (treatment) and special education. 

    (v) Children should access medical care and public health care. 

    (vi)  The state should protect children against economic exploitation and hard labour. 

    (vii)  Children should not face corporal punishment and life imprisonment.

    (viii) Children should not participate in any hostilities such as armed conflicts. 

    (ix) Children should not be mistreated or neglected by their parents, friends, guardians or the state. 

    (x) Children should be prevented from dropping out of school.


    Children’s rights are mainly provided by parents, guardians and the state.

    Gender equality

    The constitution states that all persons are equal before the law. They all have the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law. This means that every person has a right to the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. 

    Women and men have the right to equal treatment and to equal opportunities. The constitution states that there should be no discrimination against any person because of sex/gender, race, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic/social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth. 

    Among the legal instruments in place is the 2003 constitution, that provides for 30 percent automatic representation of women in decision making organs. 

    The quota has since surpassed within various organs, notably the parliament which constitutes double the provision, with 64 percent of the seats occupied by women. 

    The executive comprising cabinet ministers and ministers of state, the women constitute 36 percent.


    In the past, the woman has been discriminated against socially, economically and politically. It is important that the citizens recognise that though gender differences do exist, they need not lead to discrimination as both sexes have important contributions to make to the nation. It is also the responsibility of the citizen to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of each gender.

    Sexual abuse and gender-based violence

    Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity.  It is committed by people who use force, make threats or take advantage of victims who are not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Sexual abuse can happen to a person of any gender. This form of abuse can happen to:

    (a) One of the two people who are married. 

    (b) A child 

    (c) People with disability 

    (d) Any person found in a risky place or situation.

    Gender-based violence on the other hand is violation of human rights against a man or woman. It includes rape, sexual assault, stalking, battering and other acts that may cause harm to a person. Gender-based violence can result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to the victim. It undermines the health and dignity of the victim. The victim also suffers sexual and even reproductive health consequences which may include: 

    • Forced or unwanted pregnancy 

    • Abortions 

    • Fistula 

    • STIs including HIV 

    • Death 

    Sexual abuse and gender-based violence may happen anywhere including our homes, schools and other public places. Always avoid places that may pose a security risk to you. When abused or violated: 

     • Seek treatment from a nearby health facility. 

    • Report the offender immediately to the police. 

    • Inform another person or an adult near you for help. 

    • Resist to avoid further damage

    Once the violation has occurred, do not be afraid to seek for counselling. Talk about it. Other people may have a way of helping even after the act of violence. 

    Citizen duties and responsibilities

    Activity 10.5

    1. Make a list of rights provided by your parents/guardians. 

    2. As a good child, state your duties to your parents

    Rwanda is our motherland. As good citizens, we have duties and responsibilities towards our country. 

    Citizen duties 

    (i) Obeying the law: Citizens should serve specific purposes such as helping people, preventing accidents and allocating resources fairly. 

    (ii)  Paying taxes: This is because the government uses tax money to develop the country and to pay civil servants.  People pay taxes as a percentage of what they earn. Taxes are also levied on the purchase or sale of goods or even property. 

    (iii)  Serving in court: Every adult citizen must be prepared to promote justice. He or she can witness at a trial if called to do so. This will promote justice. 

    (iv) Respecting other people’s property: People must respect public property and the property of others. Vandalism and littering are acts of disrespect and criminal too. 

    (v) Respecting diversity: Citizens should be tolerant by respecting and accepting others regardless of their beliefs, practices or differences. 

    Citizen responsibilities 

    (a) Defending the nation: All able bodied men and women above 18 years should voluntarily register with the government. They should register in order to serve in the armed forces. This way, they provide security to the citizens and their property in the country. 

    (b)  Attending school: The government requires young people to attend school so that they get education. 

    (c) Being informed: Citizens need to know what the government is doing so that they can voice their opinions.  People can learn about issues and leaders by reading print publications and listening to news. They can also get the news through talking to people and searching the internet. 

    (d)  Contributing towards common good: This involves taking time, putting effort, and contributing money to help others. It also involves improving the community by being an active member of the society.

    Revision questions 

    1. Explain what is meant by the term ‘human rights’. 

    2. State the principles of human rights. 

    3. Explain the various forms of human rights violation. 

    4. Discuss various ways of preventing human rights violation. 

    5. State five rights of children.


    Definition of democracy

    Activity 11.1 

    1. Discuss how Members of Parliament are elected in Rwanda. 

    2. Describe the advantages of choosing your own leaders.

    Election is about choosing representatives that a person feels can lead well. We choose representatives because we cannot all sit in parliament to discuss our country’s welfare. This is called democracy. 

    The term democracy has its origin in the Athenian government of Greece during their great civilisation. It means a form of leadership where people choose their leaders from amongst themselves. The leaders are chosen without any form of coercion or intimidation.

    Principles of democracy 

    Activity 11.2

    Discuss rules that govern elections for school prefects and class representatives in your school.

    There are basic guidelines that are considered during election of prefects in schools. If these guidelines do not exist, the environment for elections may not be conducive. These are what we call principles. 

    The following principles should guide any democratic process: 

    (i) Citizen participation: All citizens must participate in the leadership of their government. 

    (ii) Equality: In a democratic government, everyone is equal before the law. 

    (iii) Political tolerance: Democracy allows existence of many political parties (multiparty system).

    (iv) Accountability: Government resources must be properly allocated and managed in accordance with the law. 

    (v) Transparency: There should be openness in both public and private enterprises so as to avoid mismanagement of resources. 

    (vi) Regular free and fair elections: Elections are supposed to be fair without irregularities. Such irregularities include bribing voters, forcing people to vote and general election malpractices.

     (vii) Economic freedom: Economic liberalisation is a situation where there is free market system and free investment. 

    (viii) Control of the abuse of power: Abuse of power refers to misuse of public offices through corruption and harassment. People who abuse power should be taken to courts of law and prosecuted accordingly. 

    (ix) Bill of rights: These are fundamental rights and freedoms of people usually guaranteed by the government. 

    (x) Accepting the results of elections: Accepting the results of an election without going to war. 

    (xi) Human rights: These are rights that belong to an individual because they are human beings. 

    (xii) Multi party system: This is the operation of more than one party in competing for power within a country. 

    (xiii) Rule of law: This involves having a functional legislature system and law abiding citizens.


    Democracy is one way of keeping peace and moral values among people. It involves mutual respect, equality and fair treatment of people even in courts of law. 

    Rwanda practices democracy. Leaders are elected to power. The rights of all Rwandans are respected including those of children and women. This explains the radical economic and social developments in the country. 

    Activity 11.3

    If you become a leader in future, describe how you would promote democracy in your community.

    Forms of democracy

    (a) Direct democracy

    This places all power in the hands of an individual. When political decisions must be made, all members of an organised unit gather to vote. In theory, this sounds like the ideal form of government. There are no intermediaries. People are treated as equals. Each person is given a chance to directly influence the policy making process. In practice, however, this system is hard to implement. 

    Direct democracy is ideal in small towns or within indigenous communities. This is because everyone knows one another. As such, issues under debate directly affect them. 

    (b) Representative democracy

    This political arrangement establishes an intermediary political actor between the individual and the policy outputs of the state. Through the electoral process, one person or a group of people is elected. They are assigned the task of making decisions on behalf of the citizens they represent. 

    (c) Constitutional democracy/liberal democracy

    This is a system of government which places the rights and the power of the majority first in decision making as long as they are within the limits of the constitution. It makes sure that the rights of the minority are not curtailed. Minority rights are guaranteed in constitutional democracy.

    Activity 11.4 

    1. Gather information from various sources how general elections are conducted in Rwanda. Write an essay in summary how this process starts and ends. Observe rules of grammar in your essay. 

    2. Draw a chart showing the structure of Rwandan legislature. 

    Revision questions 

    1. Define the term democracy. 

    2. Discuss the various forms of democracy you know of. 

    3. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of democracy.

     4. State the qualities of a good leader. 

    5. Explain the principles of democracy you know of.



    Activity 12.1 

    In Rwanda, one can identify himself/herself by: 

    • Name 

    • Gender 

    • Age 

    • Province he/she comes from 

    1. Draw a table with four columns showing the four forms of identity. 

    2. Find out, from your classmates, who else you share more than three forms of identity with.

    Forms of identities in Rwanda

    Rwandans can be identified by any of the following particulars: 

    • Name 

    • Religion

     • Gender 

    • Clans 

    • Age 

    • Family 

    • Province 

    • Self 

    • Nationality 

    • Social 

    Identity by name

    A Rwandan can be named according to:

    • Order of birth, for example, Niwempfura 

    • Circumstances under which one is born, for example, Mahoro, Ntambara and Rugamba 

    • Religious connotations, for example, Cyubahiro, Ishimwe, Ikuzo and Ineza 

    Identity by gender

    Rwandans identify themselves according to gender, either male or female.

    Identity by age

    This is in regard to date of birth. Rwandans change titles every time they leave one age stage to another. 

    Activity 12.2

    Look at the table below. 

    1. Write down the title given to a boy child. 

    2. Give the title given to a female youth. 

    3. Identify who is given the title umukecuru.

    Identity by province 

    A Rwandan born in Rwanda originates from one of the five provinces of Rwanda. These are Kigali City, Northern Province, Southern Province, Western Province and Eastern Province. 

    Identity by nationality 

    A person is Rwandan by birth if both or one of the parents is Rwandan. A person can also be Rwandan by naturalisation or through adoption. 

    A spouse who is not Rwandan, upon application, is entitled to Rwandan nationality. Rwandans returning from any countries of asylum and their children are natural citizens. This includes children who were born while in asylum. 

    Identity by religion

    We all belong to a certain religion. We may be Christians, Muslims, Hindus or traditionalists. Through our different religions, we all worship God. 

    Identity by clans 

    Each one of us can be identified by our clans. You may belong to Abega, Abanyinginya, Abasinga, Abagesera among others. 

    Identity by family

     Any Rwandan can identify himself or herself using the family he or she is born in. That is why you carry the same surname as your father or guardian.

    Self identity

    The unique characteristics each one of us has makes us be differentiated from others. These may include physical features such as birth marks or inherent features such as tonal variation and colour of the eyes or skin.

    Social identity

     We all belong to the larger human society regardless of our age, gender and status. Differences between identities

    (i) Differences in names: Our names are different, except in isolated cases. In most instances, we acquire names depending on the season when we were born, or people, places or animals we are named after.

    (ii) Differences in gender: Each one of us belongs to one of the two genders: male or female.

    (iii) Differences in age: People are oftenly categorised as children, youth or adults.

    (iv)Differences by province: We come from different provinces. Some come from Eastern province, Western province, Southern province, Northern province while others come from Kigali province.

     (v) Religious differences: There are many types of religions practiced in Rwanda. These religions include Christianity, Islam, Hindu and traditionalism. Each one of us is differentiated from the other by religious beliefs and affiliations. Religious differences are further present in Christianity, where some people are Catholics, Adventists while others are Protestants. Even in Islam some are Shia and others Suni.

     (vi) Differences in clans: This is another distinguishing factor among Banyarawanda where by people belong to different clans like Abanyiginya, Abasinga, Abega, Abagesera and Abashingwe. They are these clans that constitute the larger Rwanda society.

    Activity 12.3

    Explain other differences among Rwandans in terms of family, self and social status.

    Similarities between identities

    (i)   We all belong to one of the five provinces of Rwanda.

    (ii)   Each one of us has a name.

    (iii)   All of us belong to either of the two genders: male or female.

    (iv)   All of us can be categorised into one of the three basic stages of life based on age, that is, either a child, a youth or an adult.

    (v) All of us belong to one country, Rwanda.


    Basically there are no differences among Rwandans based on identities. There is a similarity that cuts across all Rwandans, that is, ‘NDI UMUNYARWANDA.’ This cuts across all regardless of provincial origin, gender, age and name.

    Roles of identities

    Identifying oneself as Rwandan is of great importance.

    (i)  It gives one a sense of belonging and pride of being identified as Rwandan.

    (ii) It creates and strengthens the spirit of patriotism among Rwandans. This especially applies to those who grew outside the country.

    (iii) Identifying one as Rwandan is a bond of togetherness among people especially among the youth. For example, the Makerere University Banyarwanda Students’ Association (MUBSA).

    (iv) Identity helps people to keep the values of Rwanda as a nation. Examples of such values are self-reliance, dignity and anti-corruption.

    (v)  Identity creates self-appreciation and hard work towards achievement of common goals of development for the nation. For example, Umuganda and contribution to the Agaciro Development Fund.

    Importance of living together in harmony

    Activity 12.4

    1. List four values you that have shared or borrowed from your classmates.

    2. Explain one difficult situation which your friends or one of them has helped you get out of.

    Harmony means peaceful co-existence among people from different backgrounds. These people could be from our school, neighbourhood and the country at large.

    It is very important for people to live in harmony. The following are some of the importance of living together in harmony:

     • Living together in harmony enables sharing of knowledge and skills among people. For example, students at school can share knowledge.

    • It also enables people to live and work together to achieve common goals.

    • It helps to avoid social strife and struggle among people of a given society or country.

    • Harmony creates happiness among people. No one will harbour ill will towards other person. For instance, Muslims, Christians and non– believers respect each other.

    • It promotes socio-cultural activities such as communal work (Umuganda), inter-clan as well as cross religious marriages.

    • It breeds a spirit of close cooperation among neighbours in times of need. People come together to help the needy. For example, constructing homes for the genocide survivors, bye-bye nyakatsi and constructing schools.

    • It prevents political chaos and armed resistance as is common in many parts of Africa.

    • Harmony is the foundation of self-reliance and independence among nations. It builds a strong spirit of patriotism as it has done in Rwanda.

    • Harmony leads to economic and social development of a country. This includes development of infrastructure, education, trade and commerce.


    Having friends at school is a clear indication of living together in harmony.

    What we have learnt

    Rwandans identify themselves using different particulars such as age, gender and province of origin. of importance is that irrespective of all that, they are all Rwandans, ‘NDI UMUNYARWANDA’. This has helped people in Rwanda to co-exist peacefully.

    As a Rwandan, it is always important to uphold peace and moral values of the Rwandan society. The moral values include self-reliance and dignity, anti–corruption, hard work irrespective of gender. An example is the 64% women representation in Rwanda’s parliament.

    Revision questions
     1.  Define the term ‘identity’.
    2. Explain how one can identify themselves in relation to the Rwandan society.
    3. Discuss the importance of peaceful co-existence among Rwandans.
    4.  Describe the role of identities among Rwandans.



    Conflict and violence

    Activity 13.1

    Read the following story.

     Gatete’s face was full of wrinkles. He appeared older than his age. In fact, one would think he was competing with his age in a race that he had already lost. The wrinkles on his face were as a result of hatred. Gatete hated everybody around him. It would be wrong to say that he was surrounded by evil people. Gatete lived with the most peaceful people on earth.

    Rumours had it that Gatete even hated himself. It is said that he never appreciated any thing good. His neighbours feared him because of his insults. Gatete would insult his neighbours using words that even the devil would not dare use.

    On the contrary, his wife Uwamahoro was a very patient woman. She tried every time to make peace between her husband and the neighbours. Unfortunately, she did not succeed.

    One day, Gatete attacked a neighbour and seriously injured him. When the news reached other neighbours, they took up arms against Gatete. Some wanted to lynch him. It was at that time that Uwamahoro appeared, crying and pleading for her husband. Her cry moved the mob.

    A voice of reason said, “Take him to the police. There is no need of lynching him when we have competent judges to handle his case.”

    “Yes! Yes!” Some voices supported.

    Finally, Gatete was handed to the police who eventually took him to court.

    Explain why Gatete was never liked by his neighbours.

    The story above can help us to understand the meanings of conflict and violence. It clearly shows that conflict refers to a fight, struggle or direct opposition. It may also refer to disagreement or the general pattern of groups dealing with disparate ideas.

    Violence is a behaviour or treatment in which physical force is exerted. The force is exerted with the purpose of causing damage, injury or even death to the victim(s). Violence takes many forms, some of them being:

    (i)  Physical violence

    (ii) Sexual violence

    (iii) Emotional violence

    (iv) violence

    (v) Structural violence

    Conflict and violence are all together a public disorder that affect our societies both locally and internationally. For example, the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi led to the killing of more than one million people. The killing happened within 100 days. This brought suffering and misery in Rwanda, socially, economically and politically.

     Forms of conflict and violence

     Activity 13.2

    Write down examples of conflict and violence that you have witnessed.

    There are various forms of conflict and violence that people go through. Some people are beaten or hit by objects in order to harm them. Some are left to suffer in the cold or exposed to extreme temperatures. This is called physical violence.

    In some cases, people go to war to fight against people they perceive as enemies. The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi saw some people carrying weapons. They used the weapons to attack others. This is an example of armed conflict. This form of conflict mainly inflicts physical injury or even death to the victims.

    There are people who defile children. Some rape women or touch them in an indecent manner. Others force people to watch pornographic materials. This is known as sexual violence.

    Sometimes a conflict involves the use of an abusive language. It is normally characterised by behaviour such as name calling, anger and jealousy. This type of conflict affects others emotionally and psychologically. That is why it is called emotional or psychological conflict/violence

    Causes of conflict and violence

    Activity 13.3

     Refer to the examples you gave in Activity 13.2.

    State what caused them.

    It is clear that there cannot be a conflict without its cause. Your answers to Activity 13.3 prove this. The following are some of the causes of conflict and violence.

    (i) Inequality: It is inequality between groups rather than individuals that increase the prospects of violent conflicts. Where the society is divided into two predominant groups, growing inequality between them leads to conflicts.

    (ii) State collapse: Collapse is rarely sudden. It takes a long process that is characterised by a corrupt government.

    (iii) Economic decline and economic shock: Continuous economic decline plays a major part in state collapse and conflict. For example, hyper inflation may lead to violence and the overthrow of the government.

    (iv) History: Many conflicts occur where there is a tradition of resolving problems by violent means. Political violence is entrenched and the instruments of the state such as the army, the police and the judiciary sustain the process.

    (v)               Scarcity of resources: There is likely to be conflict where people struggle for the few natural resources. For example, pastoralist communities sometimes engage in conflicts because of grazing areas.

    (vi)             Unemployment and illiteracy: Countries with high level of unemployment among the youth face a higher risk of conflicts. The situation is the same where male or female education levels are different.

    (vii) The abuse of ethnicity: Negative political remarks based on ethnicity promote ethnic hatred. 

    (viii) Availability of arms: Availability of small arms is a major factor in sustaining and fuelling conflicts.

    (ix) The conflict cycle: The greatest risks occur when a fragile peace is not properly consolidated.  A non resolved conflict keeps on rotating.

    (x)  Inadequate and inappropriate mediation: If the conflict is not properly resolved through mediation it can reoccur. Consequences of conflict and violence

    Activity 13.4

     Refer to Activity 13.1.

    In few words, describe how Gatete’s habit affected his family and the general community.

    The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is a clear indication that conflicts have consequences. The following are consequences of conflict and violence:

    (i) Loss of human lives and civilian causalities: Hundreds and thousands of human lives are lost in conflicts. Some people have become physically handicapped.

    (ii) Displacement: A lot of people have become internally displaced while others have become refugees. 

    (iii) Degradation of vulnerable groups:  People such as children are denied their rights to a living since they cannot support themselves.

    (iv) Sexual harassment: Girl children and vulnerable mothers, especially in war torn areas, always face sexual harassment.

    (v) Child soldier: Children are deliberately indoctrinated into a culture of violence and used as specific instruments of war.

    (vi) Target of Civilians: They end up being the targets of the conflicts to achieve endless goals of perpetrators.

    (vii) Famine: War denies people access to their land at critical growing or planting periods. This always leads to famine.

    (viii) Destruction of infrastructure: War seriously damages infrastructure such as roads, railways, ports, airports, electricity and water supply.

    (ix) Effects on services: Schools and health centres are increasingly the targets of military activity. It leads a large number of young uneducated persons.

    (x)  Poor governance and investment: Conflict and violence change the quality of governance. This lead to poor governance resulting into the economic losses.

    (xi) Debt burden: Conflict also contributes to unsustainable debt to the government. The whole burden shifts to the citizens to pay recurring debt for years.

    (xii)  Regional and economic impact:  The effects of conflict and violence are rarely confined to one country. It extends to the whole region.

    (xiii)  International impact: Conflict has a major effect on the environment through uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources. It leads to the other evils such as money laundering and drugs smuggling.

    (xiv) Separation of families: Conflict and violence bring separation in families.

    (xv) Psychological trauma: This occurs in many people as a result of conflicts and violence. For example, the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi left many people traumatised.

    Fig. 13.2: People migrating due to conflict

    Conflict transformation

    Activity 13.5

    Discuss how you settle misunderstandings amongst your fellow students.

    An effective response to conflict requires agreement on and understanding of its causes. It is possible to know the root causes of conflict and violence. It is also important to understand the secondary causes that sustain conflicts.

    The following strategies can be employed to transform conflict and violence:

    · Inclusive government: Conflict prevention will be effective if it is based on own experience. It should also be based on the capacity to respond to a crisis.

    · Restoring the legitimacy of the state: This is done through great commitment to re-establishing and delivering basic services. This demonstrates the value of national government.

    · Dealing with impunity: There is need for unity and reconciliation.

    ·Peacekeeping and peace enforcement: This attracts widespread international interest to provide support and training.

    · Dealing with small arms proliferation and control of light weapons:  There should be action against illegal transfer and transport of arms. There should be international support for the disposal and destruction of weapons surplus to national security needs.

    · Commitment and support to addressing conflict: There should be a long term commitment and comprehensive framework to address conflict.

    · Amicable settlement: It is when two conflicting sides decide to solve their conflicts without calling a third party.

    Other strategies of conflict transformation include the following:

    (i)  Regional and economic integration and mutual security

    (ii)  Local mediation and peace building activities for the civil societies and religious leadership

    (iii) Making stringent laws against conflicts and violence (iv) Encouraging social justice national wide

    (iv)  Settling conflict outside courts of law between two or agents of conflicting sides. A settlement contract is usually signed to adhere.


    Conflict and violence can also be managed through international criminal courts. For example, the International Criminal Court in the Hague-Netherlands. It tries war crimes, genocide crimes, crimes against humanity and aggression. This can make an impact on the reduction of crimes, conflicts and violence in various parts of the world.

    Revision questions

    1. Explain what is meant by ‘conflict’ and ‘violence’.

    2. State some forms of violence and conflict in different societies today.

    3. Discuss the causes of conflict and violence today.

    4. Explain the impact of conflict and violence on the society.

    5. Explain how conflict and violence can be resolved



    Dignity and self-reliance

    Dignity: It is a condition of being worth of respect, esteem or honour.

    Self-reliance: This is a state of being independent in all aspects. The independence could be social, political or economic.

    Activity 14.1

    1. Identify four things that make you proud of your country (Rwanda).

    2. Pick out the ones that promote respect and hard work.

    Rwanda has many things that we can be proud of including the ones you have mentioned. These things bring dignity to ourselves and to the country at large. The Government of Rwanda has put some measures to enable us achieve self-reliance and dignity.

    Measures put in place by the government of Rwanda to achieve self-reliance

    Activity 14.2

    Identify some activities that promote social and economic growth in Rwanda.

    In the past years, Rwanda has worked hard towards the achievement dignity and self-reliance. Several measures were put in place to achieve both.

    (i) Abunzi

    These are mediation committees that were created in 2006 to resolve conflicts through community participation. In other words, they were to decentralise justice. There are local officers at village level (umudugudu) whose major role is intervention. They intervene in small wrangles among citizens and harmonise the situation before it involves the courts.

    (ii) Girinka programme (one cow per poor family)

    This programme was launched on 12th April 2006 with mainly four prime objectives:

    • Fighting malnutrition

    • Reducing poverty through dairy farming

    • Improving agricultural productivity through use of manure

    • Improving soil quality and reducing effects of erosion through planting trees and grass

    One member of the community is given a pregnant dairy cow. He or she is supposed to give a first born female calf to another beneficiary. The chain is continuous. By September 2014, close to 200 000 beneficiaries had received cows.

    The criterion used for one to benefit from the one cow per poor family project is as follows:

    • The beneficiary must not have already owned a cow.

    • One must be considered poor by the community through the ubudehe principle.

    • One must have constructed a cow shed.

    • One must have at least 0.25 to 0.75 hectares of land part of which must be covered with fodder.

    • One must be a person of integrity (Inyangamugayo).

    Before one is given the cow, they first undergo training from Rwanda Agricultural Board. This is to prepare them on how to manage the cows.

    Fig. 14.1: Girinka programme in Rwanda 

    (iii) Agaciro Development Fund

    This is solidarity fund that has been initiated by Rwandans. The fund seeks to improve the level of financial autonomy of Rwanda. It is a government programme. It was started by his Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda in August, 2012. It was started as a way of reducing foreign aid.

    (iv) Itorero

     It is a civic education training that was established in 2007 to train different leaders. It trains teachers, students, politicians, church leaders, ex soldiers, bankers and civil servants. They study government programmes, Rwandan history, unity and reconciliation and Rwanda values for a better future in which negative ideologies of the past will not influence them. It also produces leaders who strive for community development.

    Fig. 14.2: Youths undergoing Itorero training

     (v)  Ubudehe

    This is a poverty eradication programme under the ministry of finance. A pilot programme was launched in 2001. The official launch was in 2004.         It is a culture of collective action and solidarity to solve problems of poverty by people themselves.  This is done by categorising Rwandans into different income groups according to self-sustenance. The poor are given priority in terms of health insurance, education, electricity, water supply and even accommodation.

    (vi) Kuremera

    It is an initiative created by the government of Rwanda. It aims at solving the problem of unemployment especially among the youth.

    At the start, the Rwandan government gave Rwandan Francs 200 million to youth. They were given this amount to start self-help projects. This has gone even to local levels. Members of a given community can join hands to help the needy in their community. For example, they construct houses, avail water for the aged and provide food.

    (vi) One-dollar campaign

    It was an initiative by Rwandans living in the diaspora to raise some money.    It was about contributing at least one dollar per head. The money contributed was for supporting the society through building houses for students who survived the genocide. 

    (vii) Umuganda (National community service)

     This is a national communal activity that is done every last Saturday of the month. It starts at 7:00 am and ends at 12 noon. All people dedicate that time to cleaning and rehabilitation of the environment. After that, a meeting is held to discuss the progress of the nation. Government programmes such as immunisation days are also announced.

    Fig. 14.4: Community service (Umuganda) 

    Activity 14.3

    Discuss the advantages of participating in the cleaning of your own surroundings.

    (ix) Ishema ryacu

    This started in July 2015 after the arrest of General Karenzi Karake Emmanuel. General Karenzi was arrested in Britain under the order of Spain. Rwandans started ishema campaign to collect money and pay for his bail which was 1 million pounds. Ishema fund was to bring back the pride of Rwanda and Rwandans.

     (x) Gacaca Gacaca

    Means “judgment on the grass”. Gacaca system has been used in Rwanda for a long time as a method of disputes’ resolutions in areas like land and cattle disputes, dowry disagreements and crimes committed in the community. It is based on truth telling and confessions as well as rendering punishment to violators while still emphasising the need for harmony and social order.

     The main objective for the establishment of Gacaca’s is reconciliation through restoration of harmony, social order by punishing, shaming and requiring reparations from the offenders as well as giving everyone in the community an opportunity to participate in the deliberation of justice. The Gacaca system is elaborate on how to punish the violators and perpetrators even as it allows them a chance to be reintegrated back into the community.

    This traditional, communal justice was adapted in 2001 to fit the needs of Rwanda in the wake of the 1994  Genocide against the Tutsi where over one million people were killed, tortured and raped in the period of 100 days. This was after realisation that the formal court systems could have taken a long time to resolve the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi cases. They were started to bring to a consensus between the perpetrators and the victims of the Genocide. The courts worked at the village level. By the time of their official closure on 4th May 2015, they had successfully resolved many cases. They had also created a united Rwandan society.

    Fig. 14.5: Gacaca court in session

    (xi) Ndi umunyarwanda

     This programme was put forward by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC). It was started to bring a lasting peace, unity and reconciliation after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. It was launched on the 15th  November 2013 at Integrated polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC), Kigali. It was launched by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Information and Communication Technology (MYICT). 

    Activity 14.4

    Use internet or newspapers to find out the names of the following:

    1. Minister for Youth and Information and Communication Technology.

    2. Permanent Secretary for Youth and Information and Communication Technology.

    Fig. 14.6: Citizens attending Ndi Umunyarwanda programme

    Implication of dignity and self-reliance on Rwandan society

    Activity 14.5

    1. Write the English translation of Rwanda National Anthem.

    2. Explain what we learn from our National Anthem.

    Dignity and self-reliance have positive implications on the Rwandan society. Some of them are:

    • They have brought, among Rwandans, a sense of togetherness and love for one another. The love is not based on any other string but Rwandans, hence the slogan ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’.

    • Dignity and self-reliance have played a big role in the economic development of Rwanda. Every Rwandan feels that it is their duty to develop their own country.

    • Dignity and self-reliance has led to promotion of peace and stability among Rwandans. People learn to respect and live in harmony with each other.

    • Rwanda has been able to fight the bad history of tribalism of 1950s and early 1990s. Rwandans now work together towards the development of their nation.

    • They have also helped to reduce income inequalities among Rwandans. Rwandan society looks forward to dignifying every member, that is, the rich help the poor.

    • Dignity and self-reliance  reduce the dependency ratio on the government. Some issues are addressed by the citizens through various campaigns such as ‘bye-bye nyakatsi.’ Campaigns such as kuremera and Agaciro Development Fund have enabled the government to finance up to 66% of its budget.

    • Rwanda has been able to provide basic services to its citizens. For example, under the Ubudehe, the vulnerable Rwandans are given priority in terms of education.


    Umuganda is one of the activities through which Rwanda has managed to conserve the environment. Through Umuganda, trees have been planted and cleaning has been done. No doubt, Rwanda is the cleanest country in Africa. We must keep up the record.

    Dignity and self reliance are very important in Rwanda. They promote growth and development of Rwanda. They bridge the gap between the poor and the rich. They enable provision of basic services, and helping the needy and disaster stricken people. They also help in poverty eradication.

    Revision questions

    1. Define the term ‘dignity’.

    2. Explain how dignity and self-reliance have been achieved in Rwanda.

    3. Discuss the implication of dignity and self-reliance on your society.

    4. State the meaning of ‘self-reliance.



    Concept of disability

    Activity 15.1 

    1. Use a dictionary to find the meaning of the term ‘disability.’ 

    2. Using the internet, research on the definition of the term ‘inclusive education’.


     It is difficult for some people to carry out activities that a normal person does. This could be due to pre-existing or acquired conditions. Such people are said to be living with disability

    Inclusive education

    Inclusive education happens when children with and without disabilities participate and learn together in the same classes. 

    Types of disability

    Activity 15.2 

    1. Look at the pictures above. 

    2. Explain the type of disability in each picture.

    There are four main types of disability. These are: 

    (i) Physical disability 

    (ii) Sensory disability 

    (iii) Mental disability 

    (iv) Developmental disability The pictures above show one type of disability. This type of disability is called is called physical disability.

     (i) Physical disability

     This is an impairment that makes one unable to use his or her physical organs to perform a function. 

    (ii) Sensory disability

     This is an impairment of one or more senses. It mostly affects vision and hearing. 

    (iii)  Mental disability 

    This is a psychological or behavioural condition that affects the brain.

    (iv)  Developmental disability 

    This type of disability affects growth and development of a person. 


                                                     All people are equal.

    Fig. 15.1: Inclusive education in Rwanda

    Causes of disability 


     Many people become disable as a result of road, fire and work related accidents. 


    Apart from causing death and destruction of property, war has always left many people disabled. 

    Diseases: Diseases such as polio and cancer can cause disability. Some parts of a person’s body may be amputated as a result of cancer. 

    Birth related: Some disabilities are as a result of problems experienced by the mother during delivery. Some children are born with disability.

     Inherited disability: Some people inherit disability from their family lineage. An example is albinism. 

    Injections and medicine: Use of wrong medicine can cause lameness or even blindness. If injection is not done correctly, the patient may end up having disability. 

    Natural disasters: Natural disasters such as earthquakes and lightening can also cause disability. 

    Failure to immunise and vaccinate children: Children who are not immunised may suffer from diseases such as polio. Consequently, they will be disabled. 

    Poison: It can cause conditions such as paralysis and blindness. 

    Activity 15.3

     Describe how the following factors cause disability: 

    • Accidents 

    • Diseases 

    • Injections

     • Natural disasters

    Consequences of disability 

    Stigma: Disability sometimes makes those living with it to have fear. Some people also cause fear to people with disability. 

    Discrimination: In some families, children with disability are discriminated against. Some are locked up in rooms whenever visitors come.

    Break up of families: Some people have ended up divorcing because of disability. 

    Low self-esteem: Some of those living with disability look down upon themselves. They feel that they are not important in the society. 

    Exploitation: Some disabled persons, especially women, get harassed. Some are sexually abused because they cannot defend themselves. 

    Vulnerability to diseases: People living with disability are at a high risk of contracting diseases. This could be caused by germs that some of them contact every time.

    Activity 15.4 

    Discuss how the following consequences of disability can be addressed: 

    • Stigma 

    • Breaking up of families 

    • Low self-esteem

    Attitudes and feelings towards disability in Rwanda

     People with disability are often self-conscious about their bodies. They face all of the attitudes people have about disability whenever they go out in public. 

    People with disability are easily angered by the sometimes patronising attitudes they encounter. They are suddenly treated as needy, unable and tragic. 

    Encountering prejudices 

    People with disability should learn how to let people have their beliefs. Let them find out that you do not care how they see you. Demonstrate an attitude that people should not pity you or make a hero of you. Return to the primary task of life, work, play family, community, love and spirit.

     Attitudes are learned 

    People who have not had direct experience around people with disability always feel uncomfortable around them. They mostly rely on information given to them about disability. For example, if a parent pulls a kid out of the way of a person riding a wheelchair, the child learns to stay away from persons on wheelchairs.

    Negative attitudes

    Negative attitudes can become a barrier to the inclusion of people with disabilities and to achieving their fulfil potential. Negative attitudes include hiding them and denying them chance to participate in various social activities including education. However, the government  resolve to change this has been through catering for their needs in education and civic education to the citizens to appreciate people with disabilities. In the current constitution, they even have more rights as compared to times before. If treated well, they feel comfortable and accepted. 

    Disability pride 

    Persons with disability should continue to demonstrate independence. They should show that they are not looking to be cared for, but to be treated as a whole. They should hold their rights to make personal decisions and have a full life. As such, society learns to value and respect persons living with disability. 

    Disability is not inability 

    Rwandans have developed the attitude that disability does not necessarily mean inability. Persons with disability should therefore be given equal chances. They should go to school, start and develop businesses. They can get employment in offices, marry, have own homes and families. This is a clear indication that disability is not inability. 

    The government partners with other non-governmental organisations such as ADRA-Rwanda (Adventist Development and Relief Agency), Handicap International and Action Aid. In partnership, they provide support materials such as wheel chairs and crutches. They give scholarships and offer trainings to teachers on how to handle children with disability.

    Fig. 15.2: Material support to the disabled

    The government of Rwanda has put on measures to ease movement of children with disability. One of such measures is the construction of user friendly buildings. The government encourages indoor games in schools to enable children with disability to study without difficulties.


    Disability is not inability. We are all equal before the law.

    Activity 15.5

    As Senior One students, make an outreach programme. Reach out to any disabled persons from around your school. Help them to clean their environment and fetch water for them. Take time to interact with them.

    Revision questions 

    1. Explain what is meant by ‘people with disability’. 

    2. Mention the types of disability that we have in our communities. 

    3. State the causes of disability in most African countries today. 

    4. Discuss the consequences of disability in Rwanda today.



    Sub-Topic Area 7:  Values, Attitude and Sources of Sexual Learning Unit 

    16:  Family and personal values 

    Activity 16.1

     Use a dictionary or the internet to find the meanings of the following words: 

    • Values 

    • Gender 

    • Sexuality 

    • Reproductive health

    Definition of values 

    These are principles or standards of behaviour. They are one’s judgment of what is important in life. Values also refer to important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture. These ideals determine what is good or bad, desirable or undesirable. Values have major influence on a person’s behaviour and attitude. They serve as broad guidelines in all situations. There are various types of values namely:

    (i) Ethical or moral values 

    (ii) Doctrinal or ideological (religious, political) value 

    (iii) Social values 

    (iv) Aesthetic value

    Activity 16.2 

    In Rwanda, every school has the following: 

    • Vision statement 

    • Mission statement 

    • School motto 

    (a) Write down the motto, vision and mission statements of your school. 

    (b) Pick out the values that the above statements promote.

    You must have realised that school motto, vision and mission statements have a meaning. They are not written just for the sake of writing. They promote some very important values. 

    Sources of values 

    • Genetics: Significant portion of our value system is genetically determined. Genes are responsible for a part of our value system. The value system could be altered due to environmental factors. 

    • Culture: Certain values are reinforced by culture. Certain cultures consider values such as achievements, peace, cooperation, unity, equity and democracy desirable. 

    Parents (family):  Values are established in our families through parents. Parents mould and instill a certain sense of values in their children. This will help the kids to cope with future challenges. 

    • Friends and peers: Through friends and peers, many people acquire values. Some acquire negative values while the others acquire constructive values to brighten their future. 

    School: Through informal and formal education, a good number of people acquire values. We learn a lot of things at school as we get knowledge and skills. This is a source of values to the majority. Good schools instill constructive ideas to students as a sense of direction. 

    • Media/press: Through newspapers, magazines, internet, radios, television and other relevant media, people acquire values. They admire and adopt values through role models in the media. 

    • Other value systems: Our value system may get altered as we grow up and get exposed to other value systems. For example, being recruited into the army or police force may change our past existing value systems. 

    Sources of sexual learning

     Sexual learning refers to instruction on issues relating to human sexuality. The issues include human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health and emotional relations. Other issues are reproductive rights and responsibilities, sexual abstinence and birth controls. Sexual learning can be done informally or formally. 

    1. Informal  sources

     Sexual learning may be taught informally. Someone can receive information from a conversation with a parent, friends, religious leader, or through the media. It may also be delivered through sex self-help authors, sex columnists or sex education websites.

    Activity 16.3 

    1. (a)  Explain how sex education was taught in the traditional Rwandan society. 

    (b) How is it taught today?

    Sexual learning must be introduced to children at an early age so as to help them manage body changes during adolescence. 

    2. Formal sources

    Formal sexual learning occurs when schools or health care providers offer sex education lessons. Sexual learning teaches the young persons what they should know about their personal conduct. It also teaches them how to relate with others, especially members of the opposite sex. It is also necessary to prepare the young for the tasks ahead.

    Sometimes sexual learning is taught as a full course as part of the curriculum. It is taught in junior high schools and senior high schools. 

    Definition of gender 


    Gender refers to either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behaviour. It is impossible to define gender as ‘sex’. The term sex can be used when differentiating male creatures from female ones biologically. The concept of gender is primarily applied to human beings and has additional connotations. 

    Social construction of gender

    Social construction refers to how the society groups people and how it privileges certain groups over others. The social construction of gender begins with the assignment to a sex category to babies. It is done on the basis of what the genitalia look like at birth. 

    When a baby is born, the doctor first looks at the baby’s genitalia. He or she does this in order to determine whether it is a boy or a girl. This is the beginning of the gender process of social construction.

    After children have been classified as boys or girls, parents become part of this societal process. They start dressing them with different clothes and colours to identify their gender.

    As children grow up, they start learning how they are supposed to behave. They observe and imitate the people of the same gender as them. Girls act as their mothers and boys as their fathers. Each gender is expected to dress and act in a certain way. However, this behaviour leads to stereotypes. 

    Concepts of human rights related to sexual and reproductive health 

    (a) Sexual health 

    Sexual health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships. Sexual health is about the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences. The sexual relationships should be free of coercion, discrimination and violence. 

    Sexual rights

    The struggle for sexual rights includes and focuses on sexual pleasure and emotional sexual expression. At the 14th World Congress of Sexology (Hong Kong,1999), the congress adopted the universal declaration of sexual rights. This includes the following sexual rights: 

    (i) The right to sexual freedom 

    (ii) The right to sexual autonomy, sexual integrity, and safety of sexual body 

    (iii) The right to sexual privacy 

    (iv) The right to sexual equity 

    (v) The right to sexual pleasure 

    (vi) The right to emotional sexual expression 

    (vii) The right to sexually associate freely 

    (viii) The right to make free and responsible reproductive choices 

    (ix) The right to sexual information based upon scientific inquiry 

    (x) The right to comprehensive sexuality education 

    (xi) The right to sexual health care

    (b) Reproductive health 

    Reproductive health implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex life. It also implies that they have the capability to reproduce. They also have the freedom to decide when and how often to do so. One interpretation of this implies that men and women ought to be informed. They should have access to safe, effective affordable and acceptable methods of birth control. They should also have access to appropriate health care services of sexual and reproductive medicine. 

    Health education programmes should be implemented. They stress on the importance of women going through pregnancy and childbirth safely. Health education provides couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant. 

    Reproductive rights 

    Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines reproductive rights as follows:

    “Reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.”

    Revision questions  

    1. Define the term ‘values’.

     2. Mention various sources of values. 

    3. Explain what is meant by sexual ‘learning.’ 

    4. Clearly explain the sources of sexual learning. 

    5. Explain the meanings of: 

    (a)  Sexual health 

    (b) Reproductive health 

    6. State at least ten sexual rights.

  • Unit 17:Glossary

    Unit 17:Glossary

    Abolish: Put an end to, stop Accommodation: a place to stay 

    Acquisition: the act of acquiring or getting possession 

    Amputated: cut off (part of the body such as hand) 

    Annexed: incorporated into 

    Antagonism: hostility, opposition (between conflicting groups) 

    Antiquity: ancient, the period of History before the sixth century 

    Asylum: protection to refugees, refuge 

    Barter trade: exchange of goods for goods 

    Bipedal: having or walking on two legs 

    Chronology: order of events, sequence 

    Coercion: use of force or intimidation Consensus: general agreement 

    Curators: people in charge of a museum 

    Defile: have carnal knowledge of a minor, violate chastity of a child 

    Diaspora: any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional         homeland, people who do not live in their home country 

    Dignity: being worth of respect, esteem or honour 

    Endeavours: an attempt to do something, effort 

    Epizootes: diseases among animals and humans 

    Famine: extreme and general scarcity of food 

    Fictitious: imaginative, not real 

    Inauguration: ceremony of putting someone as official for example, a king 

    Industrial revolution: the period during which work began to be more by              machines in factories than by hand at home

    Inherent: existing as natural part 

    Intimidation: fear Labia minora: the inner folds of skin of the external genitalia 

    Launched: started as a plan 

    Legendary: of a hero who was very famous in an area 

    Linguist: a person who studies languages 

    Massacre: indiscriminate killing of many people 

    Mythology: myths (stories or beliefs about a particular people) in general 

    Oases: places of water in a desert 

    P.b.u.h: peace be upon him 

    Perpetrators: people who have committed a serious crime 

    Pilot programme: a programme to test or start something 

    Possessions: property, wealth Prejudices: unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling Prospects: possibility of being successful 

    Redeeming: offsetting some fault 

    Reign: rule, authority 

    Sculpted: made in the manner of sculpture, formed in a particular shape 

    Sensitising: making aware, creating awareness 

    Status quo: present or cuttent condition 

    Strife: conflict, violent or angry disagreement Trauma: severe emotional shock 

    Vulnerability: state of being easy to attack or influence