Itorero is the Rwandan version of a Bar Mitzva, or for the Africans out there the Rwandan version of when young men go off into the bush for month to learn about being a man, their culture, and their communities. It is a cultural education program designed to build national unity. Rwandans have revived their tradition of Itorero to create trainer of trainers; that is take leaders of all forms throughout the country and train them on what it is to be a Rwandan so that they may better guide and lead others.

See: article in The New Times for a blurb

In New Times article the Minister of local government describes Itorero as “a culture-based platform… through which people solve their problems, promoting national unity and executing all government development programmes at all levels… It’s a way of pooling resources towards a common good”, he added.

What I like about this programme is that it uses an old tradition that formed the foundation of Rwandan society before colonization and gives it a modern twist for the realities of today. No need to bring in experts to solve a problem, use what systems already exist and make them relevant again.

I had the pleasure of sitting in on the Itorero training of Sector Executive Secretaries for one day. On that day the Minister of Local Government spent the time to present an interactive module on decision-making and strategic thinking within the context of Rwandan values. I was impressive, from what little I’ve seen, Itorero is a pretty fantastic way of bringing up the next generation of leaders. Give them a ‘boot camp’ experience in a beautiful location for 25 days where they can problem solve real issues of leardership, build a sense of camaraderi and develop the self confidence and tools necessary to bring their communities together.


2 thoughts on “Itorero

  1. This is complete heresy and propaganda of the dictatorial RPF regime. In Rwandan history, “itorero” or “itooreero” is a “militaryb training school for the elite militia”, for the “choosen ones” or “intore” (intoore) belonging to the initial core of one of the numerous armies of “Rwanda” or “Urwaanda”, the name of this country meaning “the country in unlimited expansion”… with a scent of imperialism and supremacy. The “intore” were Tutsi only. Protestant churches and sects applied this principle to their converted peoples, learning them to be the “leaders”. Rwandan copied the principle for transforming Tutsi youth in new Intore, that means agents of intelligence and action at the service of the sole Rwandan Patriotic Front. Historical, ethnic or religious association between Itorero and Jewish Bar Mitzva, as between Tutsi and Hebrews, is a total heresy. The use of “itorero-isonga” “schools of RPF propaganda” has only one goal: enforcement of the power of the RPF dictature on the Rwandan people, submitted to the law of force of the Rwandan Army (RDF), the local defense forces (LDF), the various police forces and now the Intore force of more than 27,000 paramilitary militias. This is a shame for democracy and human rights, not only for the majority of the Rwandan people, but for the humanity, our common ubuntu. Agaculama.

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