Kangura magazine was the print equivalent to R.T.L.M—that is, it routinely disseminated brutal hate speech about Tutsis and even tackled Hutus who opposed the hawkish, racist Habyarimana regime. Founded in 1990 after the R.P.F.’s invasion of Rwanda, it was a direct response to the R.P.F.-sponsored newspaper, Kanguka. (It was a pun: Kanguka means “wake up” in Kinyarwanda, and Kangura means something like “wake it up.”)
Kangura was founded and edited by Hassan Ngeze, a former Kanguka reporter, and the new magazine quickly overtook the old one in popularity. Despite its proud advertisement as a “bimonthly independent,” Kangura received significant funding from the Rwandan Government, and even used Government-owned printing presses for its first few issues. Also contributing were the M.R.N.D. (National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development) and C.D.R. (Coalition for the Defense of the Republic), both prominent radical political parties.
The focus of the magazine’s journalism was Rwandan politics, with varying degrees of bias. It tended to agree with the extremist M.R.N.D. and C.D.R. and support President Juvénal Habyarimana, and to attack or ridicule opposition parties like the P.L. (Liberal Party) and P.S.D. (Social Democratic Party). There was also more than a reasonable amount of ethnically charged propaganda. Kangura, like R.T.L.M., insisted on putting practically everything in an racial context, portraying the R.P.F. and the Tutsi ethnic group as equivalent and inseparable, politicizing Rwandan history to match its own agenda, and inciting and irritating ethnic tensions in an already unstable country. By far its most famous publication was the “Appeal to the Hutu Conscience,” better known by its major component, “The Hutu Ten Commandments.” These considered Hutus who married, did business with or even associated with Tutsis to be traitors to their ethnic brothers, and encouraged anti-Tutsi propaganda and purging of Tutsis from the armed forces. Well before the killing commenced, articles dropped hints about extermination and even alluded to an assassination attempt on President Habyarimana. Articles like these were read aloud at public gatherings and rallies across Rwanda, fueling ethnic tension.
Kangura stopped printing well before the Genocide began in April 1994, but it had already played its part and the damage was done. After the Hutu Power government was expelled from Rwanda, Hassan Ngeze briefly resumed printing a stripped-down version of Kangura from Nairobi and then Brussels, meant for the Hutu Diaspora and not available in Rwanda. He was arrested in Kenya in 1997, and stood trial before the I.C.T.R.; he was given life imprisonment.
This section is dedicated to preserving the publications of Kangura in an accessible place. Like the R.T.L.M. transcripts, they are available from the TRIM archives of the I.C.T.R., sporadic as they may be, but that’s it. All cover illustrations and articles translated into English that I have have been uploaded here—and a few in French and Kinyarwanda. I also have links to all original PDF documents.
It is my understanding that since (a) the authors and once-copyright holders of most of these articles are currently serving life sentences, (b) they are universally agreed to have incited genocide and (c) the translations are works of the United Nations, any copyright which may have protected these documents is void and they are in the public domain.
- Kabanda, Marcel. “Kangura: the Triumph of Propaganda Reﬁned.” The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. Ed. Allan Thompson. New York: IDRC, 2007. 62-72.
- “Kangura magazine.” Truman Web Design. 06 June 2009 http://www.trumanwebdesign.com/~catalina/kangura.htm.
- “Kangura.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Wikimedia Foundation. 06 June 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangura.
- “UN-ICTR Judicial Database.” United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. 10 January 2009 http://trim.unictr.org.