FC Rwanda

Society & Culture
ethnicity, football
Joris Postema
EO Television and Bonanza Films
IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary
HD available

Twenty years after the genocide in which almost a million Tutsis and Hutus were murdered, the government contends that ethnicity no longer plays a role Rwanda. It claims that 98 percent of the population self-identifies as Rwandan, and the soccer field serves as the stage for this reconciliation.

“We are not Hutus or Tutsis,” declare the players for the APR army team in the run-up to a big game against Rayon Sport, the people’s team. But journalist Daniel Sabiiti tells a different story. He says the players are all too aware of their ethnicity. Personally, he has lost contact with his own brother because he didn’t marry a Tutsi. And a good friend called off his marriage to a wonderful girl because it turned out she was “mixed.” “The tension is still there, it’s hidden.” And when the players recall their youth, they see corpses in the fields where they played their first games, and little brothers and sisters being taken away, never to return. Is it truly possible for them to forget all of this, or are they just too scared to be honest? Sabiiti doesn’t call it oppression, but does say, “It is safer to do what the government says.”