Re-centering the mothers of Rwanda's abducted "Métis" children

Alice Urusaro Uwagaga Karekezi, Nicki Hitchcott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In April 2019, the Belgian prime minister publicly apologised for the segregation, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during Belgian colonial rule in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Known as the “métis”, the children were rarely acknowledged by their white European fathers. The apology took place against a backdrop of increasing calls for accountability for colonial crimes as well as a small amount of emerging research on the métis’ experiences. Yet, what is striking in both public discourse and academic scholarship is the lack of attention paid to the mothers of these children. We know nothing or very little about these marginalised women; their voices have been eclipsed by silence and now many of them are dead. Starting with a discussion of Kazungu, le métis, an autobiographical docudrama by Rwandan-born filmmaker Georges Kamanayo Gengoux, and moving through an analysis of Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse’s recent novel Consolée, this article uses a decolonial feminist approach to suggest that, although the missing mothers’ voices have been silenced by colonial history, creative works by Rwandans can offer new spaces for repositioning the mothers at the centre of their own history.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of African Cultural Studies
VolumeLatest articles
Early online date5 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Oct 2023


  • Métis
  • Mothers
  • Rwanda
  • Colonialism
  • Kazungu le métis
  • Belgium
  • Consolée
  • Georges Kamanayo Gengoux
  • Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse
  • Abametisi
  • Ababyeyi
  • Abagore
  • Ububiligi


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