DW Documentary 'Reclaiming History - Colonialism and Genocide in Rwanda' out April 5 | DW's press releases | DW | 03.04.2024
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DW Documentary 'Reclaiming History - Colonialism and Genocide in Rwanda' out April 5

The documentary marks the first of its kind, examining the role of German and Belgian colonialism in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. It premieres on April 5 on DW.

It premieres on April 5 on DW's global linear program and the DW Documentaries YouTube channels.

Rwandan director and filmmaker Samuel Ishimwe goes in search of the origins of the "racial hatred" between the Tutsi and Hutu communities: "We speak the same language, share the same culture, the same country - what drove us apart?" In April 1994, approximately one million people were murdered in Rwanda within 100 days, including Ishimwe's parents and much of his extended family. 

Accompanied by DW director Matthias Frickel, Ishimwe traverses Rwanda, Germany, and Belgium, shedding light on his country's history through conversations with historians and contemporary witnesses. Among the interviewees is Roméo Dallaire, former head of the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda. In Rwanda, Ishimwe meets convicted perpetrators and their victims, now living together in a reconciliation village.

In 2018, Ishimwe was honored at the Berlinale, where his film "Imfura," addressing the history of genocide, earned the Silver Bear for "Best Short Film."

DW Project Managers  

Matthias Frickel, director: "Hardly anyone here today knows that Germany was the first colonial power in Rwanda. As a German-Rwandan team, we delved deeper and deeper into the history of colonialism. For Sam, it is as important to reclaim history as it is for me to confront our unknown history."

Samuel Ishimwe, director: "I was shocked to find out that this was not an innocent mistake by the colonial powers. There was a systematic intention to spread this ideology and to divide people. They worked hard to make Rwandans believe that they were really different."

Tim Klimeš, DW Head of Documentaries: "With this impressive documentary, Samuel Ishimwe, Matthias Frickel and the entire team provide an important building block for the still incomplete historiography when it comes to the German colonial past."

Rolf Rische, DW Director Culture and Documentaries: "Colonialism is a topic that we have only just begun to talk about. A topic that will be with us for a long time to come, and rightly so." 

From April 5th, the 86-minute documentary will be available on DW Documentaries' YouTube channels in English, German, Arabic, Spanish (also on Facebook), and Hindi. On April 6th, it will broadcast globally on DW's TV channels, followed by a condensed 52-minute version on Phoenix and the ZDF media library. French and Kiswahili versions will be accessible on DW's Africa Desk YouTube channels.

Detailed information and broadcast times can be found here.

EINSCHRÄNKUNG DW Personenfoto | Corporate Communications | Carla Hagemann

Carla Hagemann

Corporate Spokesperson and Head of Corporate Communications


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