This study was conducted in the Western Province of Rwanda to explore to what extent youth aged between 18 and 22 years participate in reconciliation processes and what the factors enabling and hindering reconciliation are that, from the perspective of youth, policies and practices should take into account. Six focus group discussions and 20 individual interviews were conducted in 2017. Respondents recognized the range of efforts undertaken by the government following the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi to promote unity and reconciliation. The “family” was identified as an additional key setting to discuss reconciliation in a free and open manner. However, it was observed that some parents tend to shy away from such discussions due to the heaviness of their past genocide-related experiences in addition to the changing family lifestyles and obligations that limit the time allocated to dialogue. Youth suggest specific interventions targeting the microlevel including, in particular, the family to maximize efforts made at macrolevel regarding reconciliation. Programs that promote parents’ healing and provide them with specific skills for effective communication may be deployed to ensure a smooth transition from the painful past. Additionally, since genuine reconciliation is a long-term process, youth have a key role to play in it. Hence, they as followers should be provided with tools to increase their critical thinking and challenge family and peer narratives if needed.
Authors acknowledge the respondents in this study and the research assistants Nicolas Habarugira and Jeanine Nyinawabega. Community-based Sociotherapy Rwanda supported the authors throughout the study period and during the dissemination of findings. The African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council provided financial support for the study and Vanessa Hernández provided editorial assistance.
Ingabire, C. and Richters, A. (2019), "Second-generation Perspectives on Reconciliation after Genocide: A Case Study of Rwanda", Peace, Reconciliation and Social Justice Leadership in the 21st Century (Building Leadership Bridges, Vol. 8), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 67-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2058-880120190000008005Download as .RIS
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