The Shadow of Imana by Veronique Tadjo



One of the most prominent themes in The Shadow of Imana by Veronique Tadjois unity, and it resonates through all the pages as Tadjo attempts to develop a scenario, where a people once united became ethnically divided because of colonial policies favoring one people over another. The story shows the deep divisions that had taken place within Rwanda from the colonial period to the time when the genocide took place, and this is especially true of the feelings, which hard-line Hutus had towards their fellow citizens, namely moderate Hutus and the Tutsis. The hostility that existed among the former towards the latter bred, an environment which would end up in the worst genocide in African history as thousands ended up losing their lives and many more were either raped, exiled, or handicapped. However, the most immediate trigger to the genocide was the actions of the hard-line Hutu-dominated government which brought about serious changes in society and were based mainly on ethnic differences rather than on the ability of individuals within this country to appreciate their having lived with one another for many generations in unity and without any conflict. As it is stated in the story, “the massacres were without a shadow of a doubt the result of the political maneuverings of the elite, who, in order to retain power, created a climate of hatred and division by urging the ethnic majority against the minority” (Tadjo 33). The hunger for power by the Hutu elite was what essentially created the conflict and this not only caused Rwanda to lose its unity, but it also created an environment where one community turned against the other in a manner which had never in its history been seen before.&nbsp.The resulting genocide tore the country apart as individuals, urged by their own government, took part in ethnic cleansing that resulted in the deaths of their own friends and neighbors.