A new Book to understand the Challenges of the Great Lakes Region of Africa launched in Bujumbura

The Book  Launch by Institute for Justice and Reconciliation( IJR) of South Africa in partnership with Hope Africa University was marked by the presentation of the summary of the book by its authors and co-authors.


The book launch ceremonies were introduced by Patrick Hajayandi(pictured above), who is the Senior project leader of the IJR in the Great Lakes Region and co-author of the book, presentation.

The book is entitled: “Reconciliation régionale: Défis et opportunités dans la région des Grands Lacs(Regional Reconciliation: Challenges and opportunities in the Great Lakes region).

This book is primarily addressed to all researchers who frequently work hard to find a solution to problems which has mired the Great Lakes region.

THE BIG PICTURE: The book is set to expound different ideas and challenges that the African continent faces, especially the Great Lakes Region which has been repeatedly mired in frequent clashes and skirmishes, for example, different warring militias in DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda which have plagued the whole Great Lakes Region for decades.

A work of different countries of the Great Lakes region.

The book which has main parts like Media in the Great Lakes Region: Source of Conflict or Reconciliation?; The Youth’s Challenge in the Great Lakes, has been prepared using scientific and proven facts, with the help of credible various sources of information, as Patrick Hajayandi told reporters.

It is a result of a collection of ideas of authors from 3 countries of the Great Lakes Region.

The idea of writing the book sprang up in 2016 within a group of Burundians, who, ultimately, moved closer to their neighboring countries’ fellows and sat together to gather ideas in order to publish the book.

Book cover

Great Lakes Region’s problems, the main motive behind the book publication.

The Great Lakes Region encounters many difficulties which have moved the publishers of this book to tackle this issue in order to raise any awareness to the people of the Great Lakes region.

The question of reflecting on the Great Lakes region countries’ inter-dependence was also among the points to be analyzed while thinking about this book.

Some Authors and co-authors ideas expounded.

Among authors and co-authors of the book, there is Fidelité Ishatse, journalist of the Voice of America Radio. She wrote an extract on the book having the theme: Les medias dans la région des Grands Lacs: Source des conflits ou de Réconciliation? (Media in the Great Lakes Region: Source of Conflict or Reconciliation?) where she covered issues of wars that have ravaged the countries of the Great Lakes region. She raised the awareness of whether these past wars have had an impact on these countries.

The Role of Media during periods of wars.

Fidelité Ishatse covered the role of the media played in these conflicts like radio et Television Mille Collines of Rwanda during the Tutsi genocide of 1994. The Burundi media, according to Fidelité, that relayed hatred speeches in Burundi is the radio Rutomorangingo,( a radio which was close to the warring rebel movement, CNDD, at that epoch of war in Burundi where there was the widespread of rebel movements in the 90s.

These media in the Great Lakes region have contributed to the hardships that were inflicted on people, according to Fidelité Ishatse, the co-author of the book.

She concluded that media can work for disseminating hatred while other media are working to promote the reconciliation. Media challenges such financial dependances have led some media to prefer to distort the facts in order to please their sponsor because they do this for their survival, as noted by Fidelité.

Fidelité Ishatse(left) and Aloys Batungwanayo(middle) were some of authors of the book.

Ethnicities stereotypes and jaundiced ideas dealt with.

Aloys Batungwanayo, one of the authors of the books writing and launch, worked on Memory on the past events’impact on young people of Great Lakes region.

Batungwanayo raised the question of Ethnicity where some had had some stereotypes of ethnicity. For example in Burundi, when someone is said to be of “Hutu” ethnic group, this sends to the thinking of his social status of being “Poor”; someone of the “Tutsi” ethnic group is someone who is “Rich” and someone who is called “Twa” there are jaundiced ideas of “debased and unworthy people”.

Aloys Batungwanayo, as the one who worked on “Memory”, puts forth that things stored in memory have to be analyzed and re-analyzed in order to root out any prejudices and jaundiced ideas and leanings. Information transmitted traditionally concerning the ethnicity may have an impact on different generations, as noted by Aloys Batungwanayo.

Aloys Batungwanayo called upon young people to do their own research in order not to be swayed by mishandled information which is relayed here and there.

Book subjected to a positive criticism.

The book has been subjected to one positive critic who challenged the authors to prove the authenticity and credibility of the material written in the book.

The critic raised the point of how some views on the media which are believed by some people to have disseminated hatred speech, but sometimes viewed by others as doing well during the tumultuous times that the Great Lakes region has gone through.


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