New publication in Netherlands Studies in Ritual and Liturgy on genocide commemoration and reconciliation in Rwanda.

10 March 2023

On 14 March Célestin Nsengimana defended his thesis: Genocide Commemoration and Reconciliation in Rwanda from a Liturgical Ritual Perspective. 

About the thesis

In 1994, Rwanda experienced a crime of genocide that was perpetrated against the Tutsi people. In this liturgical ritual study, Célestin Nsengimana explores how the genocide commemoration performed at Kirinda Parish of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda is shaped and appropriated by participants. He further looks at whether this commemorative ritual contributes to reconciliation or/and exacerbates grievances. By seeing the ritual constituents through the lenses of African worldview, Nsengimana portrays a comprehensive perspective of reconciliation that encompasses five interlinked categories of reconciliation such as reconciliation with self, with others, with the dead, with God, and with the non-human nature. Nevertheless, the genocide commemoration reflects some tensions between truth, justice, and reconciliation. Since the crime of genocide is severely punished, people are reticent to reveal what they have seen and to plead guilty because they want to escape legal accountability. Consequently, the issue of missing dead bodies is still very critical to the process of unity and reconciliation.

About Célestin Nsengimana

Célestin Nsengimana is the holder of Bachelor’s degree in Protestant Theology and Master’s degree in Peacebuilding. He is currently working as Lecturer of Practical Theology and Christian Approaches to Peacebuilding at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS), Rwanda. He is also the coordinator of the Center for Training and Documentation (CFD) of the of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda (EPR). 

Additional information

The PhD project was supervised by prof. dr. Marcel Barnard and co-supervised by dr. Martin Hoondert. The thesis is published as the 27th volume in our series Netherlands Studies in Ritual and Liturgy and be ordered by sending an e-mail to