Post-Genocide Identity Politics and Colonial Durabilities in Rwanda

Andrea Purdeková, David Mwambari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


While academic literature has long explored the ways in which colonial reification of identity and narratives underpinning unequal racialised status of colonial subjects contributed to cycles of violence in the Great Lakes region, including in Rwanda, few ask the complementary question: Does the colonial legacy imprint on the ‘post-conflict’ era, shaping post-genocide attempts at nation-building and identity re-engineering carried out in the name of the broader project of peacebuilding? Using the conceptual framework of colonial durabilities, we argue that despite explicit attempts to remove the vestiges of colonialism, the colonial past endures, in everyday expressions of identity as well as in grand policies of its reformulation. The current paper aims to trace these vestiges in the transformations of identity politics and nation-building in Rwanda by looking at three distinct arenas: (i) the architecture of de-ethnicisation policy itself; (ii) the stubborn lingering of racialised distinctions in popular culture; and (iii) the rise of ‘new’ social divisions based on the country of exile.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical African Studies
Early online date21 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2021


  • colonial durabilities
  • identity politics
  • peace-building
  • Rwanda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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