Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Butare is situated in the south west of the country and borders Burundi. It's geography is in keeping with most of the rest of Rwanda, and is hilly compared to surrounding Tanzania, but not as mountainous as the North of Rwanda.
Butare province is home to Butare city, Rwanda's "second city". Butare town has the National University of Rwanda , which like all educational institutions in Rwanda is bilingual, speaking both French and English. It also holds the prestigious Nyakibanda Seminary .
The city of Butare has long been regarded as the intellectual capital of the coutry, while Kigali holds most political power. The Belgian colonial rulers named the city Astrida in honor of Queen Astrid of Belgium. The first Catholic mission in 1900 in the country was only a few kilometers from the town center, at Save Hill .
The National Museum of Rwanda was built in the early 1990's and is a good source of information on the cultural history of the country and the region. It is often referred to in tourist brochures as the finest museum in East Africa.
During testimony at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda investigating the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, expert André Guichaoua referred to Butare as the "rebel province." Butare was the only prefecture to be run by a Tutsi, Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana , who actively opposed the genocide. Because it had a large Tutsi minority, prefectural politics were dominated by the Parti Social Démocrat (PSD), rather than the Mouvement Républicain National pour la Démocratie et le développement (MRND), from which the genocidal Interahamwe drew recruits. The Interahamwe in Butare were thus less numerous and less organized than their counterparts in the rest of country. When the country erupted into bloodshed following the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana (no relation to the governor) on 6 April 1994, only Butare was untouched, with the notable exception of the Nyakizu commune. Many Tutsis who fled the violence in other parts of country found haven in Butare.
The calm lasted two weeks. Interim President Théodore Sindikubwabo, himself a native of Butare, appointed a new governor on 19 April in a ceremony in the prefectural capital. Governor Habyarimana was shortly thereafter arrested and killed. One of the next to die was former Queen Rosalie Gicanda , described by the ICTR prosecution as "a historical symbol for all Tutsi". Paramilitary units and Interahamwe were then airlifted from Kigali, signaling the start of the killing. It has been suggested that the Hutu government leadership were particularly concerned about Butare because so many of them were natives; besides Sindikubwabo, Prime Minister Jean Kambanda (the first person convicted by the ICTR), General Augustin Ndindiliyimana (head of the Gendarmie), and Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the minister of women and family affairs were all born in Butare. Despite the fact that the genocide was delayed two weeks, 220,000 would be killed. This is more than 20% of the total and the highest by far of any prefecture.
- Butare Pilot
- Rwanda Tourism on Kigali and Butare
- Information on Butare
- Butare, an 'Intellectual' Town That Outdid Itself, Even in Genocide, Hirondelle News Agency , 18 February 2005
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