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Preparations for the Burundi Genocide

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Preparations for the Burundi Genocide


Burundi -- History.


Oral history video clip featuring Henri Boyi, a Professor at University of Western Ontario. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.


Media Entertainment, Inc.


Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.




Boyi, Henri


Tape number 4048A


video / mp4




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Kennedy, Michael


Boyi, Henri


I think for many years, the Hutus had been prepared. When we talk of 1965 and seeing what had happened in Rwanda in 1959, that most Hutu politicians had always dreamt that they should also do like in Rwanda and kill Tutsis and throw the rest outside and go on power. A lot of Hutu politicians thought that that was the only way they can go, they can reach power in Burundi. And they had really mobilized the populations. We had months of fierce and strange and hateful election slogans, months before that president was elected. We had lots of violence, but not at any level comparable to what happened in 1993. But during the election, the election campaign, there were lots of teachings about killing the Tutsis if they don’t win the elections. And at one point, the president himself said, "Whether we win or lose, we will fight." That was something scary, but nothing was done about it. So there were such slogans about--that repeated, actually, slogans that were used in Rwanda, slogans like “Warm up!” That's a slogan that calls people to burn the others in their houses: "Warm up!" Everybody would greet with that slogan, "Warm up!” Or another slogan, which was very common, was, "Nivo nu gutwi," which is--nivo--"The level is the ear." This part of the body around the ear being known to be very vulnerable, that's where usually the machete would hit first. And if you look at the pictures of people who were killed, mainly--all over, actually; in Rwanda as well as in Burundi--almost all of the victims have the machete scar around--at the level of the ear. So that became a greeting for the ruling party, starting from the campaign. "Warm up, susuruka!" which means "Warm up"--again, talking about burning the people in their houses. These are hearths that are very--most of the houses in the villages are very easy to burn. They are built with trees and grass, so it's very easy to burn the houses. You lock people inside; if they come out, you have the machete to finish them up. So these--the people had been—they had really been prepared. And the gas, the gas that was used to burn those houses, it had been distributed by the rulers, the people in power at different levels: the level of the commune or the province. They had distributed the machetes. Every single Hutu peasant had a machete, except those who refused and who paid for it. Again, they had gasoline to burn the houses. They were very well prepared.

Original Format

Beta tape




Media Entertainment, Inc., “Preparations for the Burundi Genocide ,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed October 22, 2020,