Yves Hakiza, Goma

I remember we were only five at the first meeting. At the beginning, it was mainly classmates. Little by little, neighbours joined the group.

Yves Hakiza, organising debates to fight tribalism

20 years old, Yves Hakiza, student in Goma, organises with only limited means, debates about tribal conflicts in his province: North-Kivu. His hope is to break ethnical divides in the east of D.R. Congo.

Not such a common teenager

At first sight, Yves Hakiza is a common teenager: his eyes are restless, his voice trembling. But with his words, and with his body language, we understand that this economics student knows what he wants: to break tribal divisions in the North-Kivu province in D.R Congo. That is what he stands for - and with persistence. His method? organising meetings based on exchange and debate for a maximum amount of people, in order to counter tribalism that plagues his life and the community. Still a student and with limited means, Yves organises the meetings, and through word of mouth more participants join.
I remember we were five during the first meeting. The meeting took place in my aunt’s living room. At the beginning, it was mainly classmates. Little by little, neighbours joined the group.

A broken engagement

His ambition originates from an upsetting story in his family. It took place in April 2012. At this time his older brother dated a young woman. No problem, until they planned to get married. The family in law of Yves' brother was radically opposed to this union. They couldn’t imagine their daughter marrying a man who didn’t belong to their ethnic group. The engagement was broken. With force. Yves still remembers it.
We tried to explain to the family in law that an inter-ethnic marriage could succeed, in vain.

Affected and disappointed, Yves started playing with the idea of fighting tribalism. He started at his university.

I estimated I had the best chance of success by raising awareness amongst my classmates and given that I didn’t have enough money to rent a meeting room, I invited them at my aunt’s who has enough room to welcome some people.

Growing numbers

Little by little, to his great surprise, the number of participants increased. Nowadays, he gathers around 20 people at monthly meetings. At each meeting, discussions are held in a simple language with real-life examples to denounce tribalism. He hopes that their “discussions and proposed solutions will spread in larger circles to grow the impact".And indeed, the impact is visible. Friends and neighbours like Benjamin Kalegamire, are committed to take the efforts further:
These monthly meetings create a share place of trust, no matter the different origins. We need a lot of similar initiatives to take the message further and get over tribalism.
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