Rw King Tall   Rw King Sit


Since the time of his enforced exile by the Belgians,
H.M. King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa has lived the entirety of his life abroad,
first in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (1961 to 1962), and then in Nairobi, Kenya (1963-1971).
He has also lived in Kampala, Uganda (1972-1978) and again in Nairobi (1979-1992).
In June of 1992, he was granted political asylum by the US government,
and has lived in Washington, DC, since that time.

To Orwell Today,

I live in Uganda and my Dad, Mr. Shem Gateja was a very close pal to the Mwami of Rwanda and my prayer and request is that I can meet the King or get in touch with him.

One thing I do believe is that he is equipped with alot of information for we the young generation. And, if he is not on his throne, what is he doing? Can he please write books so that one day the books can spread and maybe we can have a chance to share his mind.

Kind regards,
Sahabu Gateja

Greetings Sahabu,

I empathize with your wish to know what the King of Rwanda - Kigeli V Ndahindurwa - is doing. I've been curious about that myself, ever since learning that he is alive and well and living in the USA, sometimes travelling the world telling different audiences about his kingdom.

Apparently he wants to return to Rwanda but won't do so unless he is re-instated as Mwami - even though Rwanda is no longer a monarchy. The present government has invited him to come back and take on a ceremonial role for the benefit of the people - to whom he represents an emotional, cultural and spiritual bond to their past.

Palace Old Palace New

Perhaps, if he returned to Rwanda as titular king, he could live in his old palace in Nyanza (which is next door to a replica of the traditional one). It's been sitting empty since he left Rwanda in 1961, two years after succeeding King Rudahigwa to the throne in 1959. See ROYAL REIGN IN RWANDA & KAGAME AUNT QUEEN ROSALIE & VISITING RWANDA ROYAL PALACES

I've learned, thru researching the answer to your questions, that one of the things King Ndahindurwa is doing - in self-imposed exile - is heading the King Kigeli V Foundation. Its stated mission is "to keep the international community informed about the situation in Rwanda via radio, television, and newspaper interviews and provide charitable and educational purposes for the people of Rwanda and refugees that live outside of the nation".

I discovered, also, that it's possibe to get in touch with King Ndahindurwa on Facebook. And if you have any questions you can contact his official website at HIS MAJESTY KING KIGELI V.

Probably he would be happy to hear from you - the son of an old friend - and be interested in your idea that he should write a book. On his website there is a list of books about the history of Rwanda's Mwami - including a recent one about him entitled "How King Kigeli V Was Exiled" which you may be able to track down and read.

In the meantime, peruse the new articles below, in addition to the already existing ones on "Orwell Today".

All the best,
Jackie Jura


Rwanda queen-killing suspect held. BBC, Oct 6, 2009 (One of the most wanted suspects in Rwanda's 1994 genocide has been arrested in the Ugandan capital, Kampala....One of Ildephonse Nizeyimana's units is believed to have killed Queen Rosalie Gicanda, widow of King Mutara III who died in 1959 shortly before the country became a republic. According to a 1999 report by US-based Human Rights Watch, Hutu soldiers took the queen from her home in the south-eastern town of Butare and shot her behind the national museum. They also murdered several women who looked after the queen, who was about 80 years old when she died....).

What happend to Rwanda's King?. Ugandans At Heart, Jan 23, 2009 (Rwanda had a revolution led by George Kaibanda, with the help of the French and Catholic Church that deposed King Kigyeri to Uganda and Muteesa gave him land in Mawogola where he settled and his people. During UPC/KY alliance, Obote hired Kigyeri and some of his people to work in General Service Unit. They continued even in State Research Bureau under Amin. However a section led by Fred Rwigyema were in FRONASA with Museveni. While many led by Ndugute were in Uganda Army. Since independence in 1962, Rwanda is a republic not a monarchy. Last year Kagame told Kigyeri to go back to Rwanda as a private citizen. Kigyeri refused and said that he wanted to go back as a king. He lives in New York.

Kigeri lost power in 1959 and his grandfather had lost power first to Germans and later to the British. Kagame fought and captured state power in 1994 and he is therefore the legitimate leader. He also organized elections and he won it. So somebody with political and military power and with the legitimacy of the people, he can direct a former king. Rwanda is not yet with a law allowing traditional leaders. Kigeri may be back like our own kings here in Uganda. It is the same with the family of the Sultan of Zanzibar, an extension of the Sultan of Oman. Then the former ruling dynasty of Burundi which was deposed in 1966, then that of Ethiopia swept away in 1974. The Banyamulenge king of former Zaire is a businessman in Kampala but Kabila is the one with power even if Kabila is a commoner. That’s life mwattu!!!)

Chronology of Rwanda Monarchy (kings and years of their reign). My Space, His Royal Highness King Kigeli V of Rwanda

Rw King Crest New Royal Project (On behalf of His Majesty King Jean-Baptiste Kigeli V Ndahindurwa of Rwanda we were approached by persons in his service with a request to produce a set of heraldic insignia for His Majesty...His Majesty's Coat of Arms design is based on a number of symbols representing the various attributes of the monarchy. The crest is comprised of a traditional royal head-dress or crown, a symbol representing the monarchy. HM wears a traditional crown in a photo found on the page describing the monarchy. The three stars, positioned top right and left, and one below the arms symbolize the three clans of Rwandans: Hutu, Tutsi & Twa. The lion figures prominently in the history and monarchy of Rwanda, symbolizes the power of the monarchy. The crest-crane symbolizes the nobility of the monarchy. The central figure is the Royal Drum. It is a very important symbol which equates to the combined value of the Sword of State and the Scepter and Orb of a British coronation ceremony.

LIFE AFTER THE THRONE. Time Magazine, 2007 (When reporters located the former king of Rwanda Kigeli Ndahindurwa V in 1994, he was applying for food stamps in Maryland. He had been deposed in 1960, after a coup supported by the Belgian government. Ndahindurwa had fled to Kenya before being granted asylum by the U.S. in 1992. After the massacres in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis, the former king, a Tutsi, toured the U.S. and Canada to raise awareness for the plight of refugees. He told the BBC last year that he still wants to go back to Rwanda and regain his throne, but would only do so with the support of the Rwandan people. Royal Factoid: He is seven feet tall and is never without his childhood friend and assistant Boniface Benzinge, who usually stands behind the king and often speaks for him. "A king is like a father to the nation...All the tribes are like his children." ~ Kigeli Ndahindurwa V

Kigeli V of Rwanda. Wiki (Ndahindurwa, born 1935, was the ruling King (Mwami) of Rwanda from 1959 to 1961. He was born in Kamembe, Rwanda. His Christian name is Jean-Baptiste. He received his education at Groupe Scolaire d'Astrida in Rwanda, and at Nyangezi College in the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. Political instability and tribal conflict grew despite the efforts of King Kigeli Ndahindurwa. An increasingly restive Hutu population, encouraged by the Belgian military, sparked a revolt in November 1959. In 1961, King Kigeli V was in Kinshasa to meet with Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld when Dominique Mbonyumutwa, with the support of the Belgian government, led a coup d'état that took control of the government. The coup resulted in the overthrow of King Kigeli V and he initially fled into exile to Tanzania, where he lived in Dar es Salaam (1961-1962). Then he moved to Nairobi, Kenya (1963-1971). He lived also in Kampala, Uganda (1972-1978) and in Nairobi (1979-1992) and since 1992 he has lived in Washington, D.C., United States. In June 1992, he was granted political asylum by the United States and lives in Washington, D. C.. He has traveled internationally to speak on behalf of the Rwandan people and repeatedly called for peace and harmony between the different groups. King Kigeli V has continued to remember the victims of the Rwandan Genocide and makes every attempt to reconcile between all political, ethnic, and religious parties in Rwanda to use the democratic process to solve any disputes. Kigeli is a friend of former South African president Nelson Mandela...

In an August 2007 BBC interview, Kigeli expressed an interest in returning to Rwanda if the Rwandan people are prepared to accept him as their constitutional monarch. He said that he had met President Paul Kagame and that Kagame had told him that he and his family were free to return, but Kigeli said that in order to do so, he needed to know if the people still wanted him to be king. According to Kigeli, Kagame said that he would consult the government about the issue. He currently heads the King Kigeli V Foundation whose mission is to bring humanitarian initiatives on behalf of Rwandese refugees. King Kigeli V also awards the Royal Order of the Drum, the Royal Order of the Crown, the Royal Order of the Crested Crane and the Royal Order of the Intare to individuals for their outstanding service to His Majesty for their personal work to assist the people of Rwanda through humantarian projects.






Kagame comments on self-exiled king, Rwanda Gateway, Sep 13, 2007
Rwanda’s exiled King Kigeli Ndahindurwa V can only return to the country as an ordinary citizen but not as a constitutional monarch as some Rwandans may want, President Paul Kagame has said. "You are trying to make him more important than he is," Mr Kagame told journalists in Kigali on Monday. "He (Ndahindurwa ) should come back from exile as an ordinary citizen and we shall welcome him. If he does not welcome that option, then he should remain wherever he is," Mr Kagame said. President Kagame’s remarks come at a time when King Ndahindurwa, the man who ruled Rwanda until he was overthrown in 1959, has renewed demands to return home for the first time in 48 years. However, he says he can only return if the Rwandan people accept him as a constitutional monarch...."I asked him why he doesn’t want to return home but he said he can only come back as a king and I asked him whether he is king in Washington D.C," said Kagame. The President said he assured Mr Ndahindurwa at the time that he (Kagame) has no powers to reinstate him. He said the powers lay in the hands of Rwandans. However, Mr Kagame said given the historical significance and importance of the kingship, the government had promised to cater for Mr Ndahindurwa’s welfare and security..."For him (Ndahindurwa) to wait for my answer whether he should return as king is none of my business. I was not among those that dethroned him and therefore have no authority and obligation to re-instate him," Mr Kagame said.


Rwanda's former king eyes return (King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa says he was forced from his throne illegally). BBC, Aug 17, 2007





Lunch with the King, Delaware University magazine 2002 (... Over lunch, the king spoke mainly Bantu dotted with French. He didn't seem to understand English, despite 40 years in anglophone countries. Except for a brief, enthusiastic exchange in Swahili with a student who had studied in Kenya, the entire conversation was conducted through a translator who sat at the King's side. Kigeli ate his modest salad slowly, his fork in his right hand pausing as he listened to questions. "Under what conditions would you return to your country?" one student asked. "If the Rwandan people want me back," came the translation. "Do you have support from the international diplomats to return to the monarchy, or is it just a dream?" asked Englebert. "The majority of Rwandans are in favor of my return, some of whom still don't have the courage to show themselves," came the guarded reply. In Burundi, the president invited the old monarch back, only to kill him. When asked why he thought his return would remedy the ills of the past 40 years, the King's repeated response was that his "children" would behave themselves when their "father" returned..)

Ethiopian and Rwandan Crowns Meet at Strategy Conference
Ethiopian Crown Newspaper, Oct 6, 1998

Rwanda's King Kigeli V, the Umwami w'u Rwanda, and current head of a dynasty which goes back in an unbroken line to the year 1081 (Western calendar), is meeting with Ethiopian Crown Council President Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie at the Strategy'98 dinner in Washington DC on October 6, 1998. Both Prince Ermias and His Majesty are wearing decorations awarded by the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), a worldwide NGO for senior government officials involved in national policy and strategic affairs. King Kigeli was awarded the ISSA Gold Medal Award for Outstanding Contributions to Strategic Progress for Humanitarian Achievements for 1998. This recognized the King’s work to warn the world of the impending genocides in Rwanda over the past decade....

Both Prince Ermias and King Kigeli spoke at the big Strategy'98 conference, the Global Strategic Forum, about the strategic situations in their respective countries. As well, both participated in a special briefing to the United States Congress in September, and then again to the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 14. The briefing to the Senate was held in the rarely-used Senate Treaty Room, the ornate and beautifully-decorated chamber used by the Senate to greet heads-of-state and special dignitaries.... King Kigeli discussed, at the conference, the seemingly intractable civil war situation in his country. Discussions are now underway to try to get the King's return to Rwanda by modifying the colonial constitution (left to the state by the Belgians) to allow his return, where he is seen as the only national unifying figure capable of bringing about reconciliation between the three major groups in Rwanda: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The ISSA Awards automatically invested both leaders as Life Members of the prestigious association, which is involved in global conflict resolution studies....

Impoverished King watches Rwandan bloodbath from exile in Takoma Park. Washington Post, Apr 26, 1994 (...King Kigeli V once was the leader of Rwanda, a seven-foot monarch whose followers regarded him as someone with great supernatural powers. Today Kigeli V is applying for food stamps in Montgomery County. After three decades in exile around Africa, the former king came to suburban Washington two years ago and now lives in a spare, one-bedroom apartment in Takoma Park. He wears dull, battered clothes and relies on the generosity of friends and strangers for food and shelter. And now, as civil war soaks his native land in blood, Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, who was deposed when his country abolished its monarchy in 1960, watches helplessly from a distance, overwhelmed with anger and sadness for...)

Onetime King Has a Vision For Rwanda
by Jane Perlez, New York Times, Nov 5, 1990

For 30 years, King Kigeri V, the former ruler of Rwanda, has been waiting to go back to his small nation in the center of Africa. So have hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, scattered over nearby countries. They have cheered on rebels who invaded Rwanda, saying that the fighters have brought to the fore the little-known cause of the Tutsi, a minority Rwandan tribe who as exiles have been forbidden to come home.

"What we want is a modern Rwanda that would be democratic," said the 54-year-old King, who now lives a modest life in suburban Nairobi. "We want all Rwandans to go back and choose their government. If they don't want a king, they can choose a president or some other person."

On Thursday, the Rwandan Government claimed victory over the rebel Rwandese Patriotic Front, which invaded from Uganda on Sept. 30, 1990. The front accused the Government of President Juvenal Habyarimana's single-party Government of corruption and dictatorship. But on Friday, the President said "Nobody could say the war is finished in Rwanda. Nobody knows what the rebels could get up to." The Belgian Government, which sent 600 paratroopers to Rwanda at the start of the fighting on what it said was a mission to protect its nationals, made several attempts to get peace talks going, but these have fallen into limbo.

The Tutsi, traditionally the ruling tribe, were favored by the Belgian colonial rulers but then violently ousted in 1959 when the majority Hutu were installed, three years before independence. Ever since, the 500,000 Tutsi refugees in neighboring nations have wanted to return but have been prevented because the Hutu fear that the Tutsi would reimpose minority rule.

Since 1962, Rwanda has been led by Hutu-dominated governments. Between 1959 and 1964, it is estimated that as many as 100,000 Tutsi, who are strikingly tall in contrast to the generally short Hutu, were expelled and many thousands were killed by the Hutu.

The Tutsi who survived and remained at home say they have been the victims of severe discrimination. Rwanda is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa where citizens must carry identity cards stating their ethnicity. A system of quotas is supposed to allocate 15 percent of the jobs to the Tutsi, a reflection of the Tutsi percentage of the population. But the Tutsi complain that they have gotten much less, with only one Tutsi Cabinet minister and one Tutsi ambassador.

The Government of Mr. Habyarimana has argued that demographic pressures in Rwanda, the most densely populated country in Africa, make it impossible to permit the Tutsi refugees back. About 7.5 million people squeeze onto the increasingly arid hills of Rwanda, trying to eke out an existence on depleted soil. The Rwandan President has asked Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to encourage the Tutsi refugees to stay, by granting them citizenship. But these nearby nations, beset by large populations and low employment, have refused. While many Tutsi exiles acknowledge the Rwandan Government's demographic argument, they say it disguises the basic element of ethnic antagonism.

When the Hutu of Rwanda look over the border to Burundi, also a former Belgian colony, they see a mirror image: there, the minority Tutsi dominate the majority Hutu. They also see a legacy of Tutsi violence against the Hutu. Most recently, in 1988, 5,000 to 10,000 Hutu were massacred by the Tutsi-led army. But since then, the Burundian President, Pierre Buyoya, has opened up the political and education systems, and even the army, to Hutu, an example that the Tutsi refugees say the Rwandan Government should follow in reverse.

Mike N. Rugema, a program officer for refugees at the All-African Conference of Churches in Nairobi, who is a Tutsi refugee, said he understood the Rwandan Government's arguments that the country was too crowded. "We agree it is small and overpopulated," Mr. Rugema said. "But it is our country, and it is for all Rwnadans to find a solution. It is poor for all Rwandans and it is for all Rwandans to find a a way to develop it." One of the top rebel commanders, Maj. Peter Bayingana, said his men were fighting so that the Tutsi exiles could come home. He denied that the Tutsi wanted to rule again. "Our people have got it very rough from the various countries where they have been," he said.

BILLY GRAHAM VISITS KIGELI V (Evangelist visits King of Rwanda during his tour there). Mar 1, 1960

Spirituality and Religion of Rwanda. World Wide Daniels (...The king of Rwanda was called umwami. Umwami, who was Tutsi, was the incarnation of Imana, and thereby was addressed as Nyagasani, which means God or Lord. Umwami was the source of the land's prosperity and fertility. He was the true owner of all of the cows and women of the land, and the kingdom could not exist without him. He gave power, wealth, and privilege to people, but could also take it back. Umwami was considered immortal by the fact that people would always remember him for his moral and physical perfection. It was a serious religious offense to rebel against Umwami or his kingdom, and doing so would result in the wrath of Imana...

Rwanda Land of Thousand Hills
Footprint Adventures

Rwanda is a small landlocked country, it borders on Uganda in the north, on Tanzania in the east, on Burundi in the south and on Congo in the west. Kigali is the capital of Rwanda. Rwanda has a rich history and culture.

It was long time regarded as a mysterious kingdom with a legendary military force which was carefully bypassed by the Arab traders and the great Nile Explorers. John Hanning Speke was already welcomed to the court of Kabaka (King) Mutesa I of Buganda in 1862 while the first European visited Rwanda only 30 years later. It was in 1892 that the Austrian explorer Dr. Oscar Baumann came to Rwanda for a few days in search of the Nile. The story tells that Dr. Oscar Baumann needed the approval of the Rwanda Mwami (King) to leave the territory again which he refused to ask and that he escaped only after using his gunfire. Two years later in September 1894, an official German delegation conducted by the Army Officer and Count Von Götzen, met the Tutsi Mwami (King) Kigeri IV Rwabugiri. The historical meeting was carefully prepared and arranged through another Kingdom. The Germans found one of the best organized pre-colonial kingdoms of East-Africa. The three ethnic groups (Bahutus, Batutsis and Batwas) lived together, spoke the same language (Kinyarwanda) and had the same culture. Rwanda was once together with Burundi and Tanzania part of the German East African colony and became a Belgian protectorate after the first world war.

On your way to Butare you can visit in Nyanza (actually Nyabisindu) the former Mwami's palace (King's palace) and the seat of the feudal monarchy. The palace has been reconstructed to its 19th century state and shows a traditional dome that can be compared with the Kabaka's palace of Buganda (Kampala, Uganda).

The "Intore", once the elite of the traditional Rwanda army, were not only trained as military but also in high jump and dance. They were known for there remarkable technique allowing them to jump over 2m40. The Intore became worldwide famous as dancers in 1958 when the World Expo was held in Brussels. Today Intore dancers are part of the rich Rwanda folklore....

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~