Moriah Mason / Staff Writer
On Oct. 18-19, the Brock School of Business hosted a “Economics and Women” colloquium. At the end of the program, there was a film showing of “Mama Rwanda.”
Rwanda is a country that is located in Central Africa and is one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Their population amounts to 12.63 million and their parliament has more female members than any other parliament in the world.
However, in 1994 the citizens of Rwanda suffered from a mass genocide
According to History.com, “During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many as 800,000 people.”
“By the time the Tutsi-led Rwandese Patriotic Front gained control of the country through a military offensive in early July, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were dead,” said the History.com article.
Despite the losses of many Rwandan citizens, through the efforts of many Rwandan women, Rwanda has become one of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world.
“Mama Rwanda” is about a new generation of women committed to helping their country, despite the memories of past genocide. Within the film, Drocella and Christine, two Rwandan citizens use entrepreneurship to support themselves and their families.
“Mama Rwanda” is a modern tale of working mothers told through the eyes of the unlikeliest women – those who lived through genocide. Drocella, a village wife, and Christine, a city widow, have traded subsistence living for a life of business innovation,” Mama Rwanda website stated.
Instead of becoming discouraged, Drocella discussed in the film that she would keep trying to achieve her goal, no matter how long it takes.
Southeast Missouri State University students, finance major Whitney Whiteside and financial economics major Jordan Jackson, were at the conference this weekend and saw the film.
Whiteside liked how the film focused on entrepreneurship
“I liked the focus on entrepreneurship, a lot of today we talked about economics in the seminar, and I liked how they focused on entrepreneurship since I am minoring in that,” said Whiteside
Jackson liked how the film offered a different perspective of Rwanda.
“When we think of Rwanda, we think of the genocide and not what happened after. People really picked themselves up by their bootstraps and got to work,” Jackson said.
Jackson also commented on how this sort of action is not found in America.
“It’s something we don’t do in America, after seeing people killed and having to literally fight for survival, the Rwandan people were able to come together and better themselves,” Jackson said,“It was definitely an interesting perspective
The film also discussed common misconceptions that Westerners have about Africa and the African people.
In the film, there was an importance of the Rwandans being able to explain their story and their ability to support themselves. Because the majority of the time, Westerners think that Africans are poor, uneducated, and unable to provide for themselves.
However, according to the film, this is not the case. The Rwandan people are rebuilding their economy and providing for themselves through entrepreneurship.
Genocide will always be apart of their history, but they are dedcated to building better lives for themselves and their families.
For more information about the mass genocide in Rwanda, visit https://www.history.com/topics/africa/rwandan-genocide, and for information about the film, visit www.mamarwanda.com.