Musinga’s Coming of Age 1905-1913
Ahaje ubwanwa haba hanze ubwana.
[When the beard appears, childhood disappears.]
When Kabare won supreme influence at Court in late 1904, Musinga was a young man of twenty or twenty-one. He had already taken several wives and fathered two or three children. According to Rwandan practice, Musinga should have attained full manhood when he had first married at the age of seventeen or eighteen. But after one of his visits at Court, Kandt commented that the mwami was not likely to free himself of the control of the Bega: “For I have seen too often how this boyish figure at every word looks anxiously to the giant figures of Ruhenankiko [Ruhinankiko], Rudegembja [Rwidegembya] among others, in constant fear of finding disapproval in their eyes.”Kabare’s defeat of Ruhinankiko saddened and humiliated Musinga, who had much pre-ferred the loser to the victor. When Kabare and the other Bega used Ruhinankiko’s fall to kill or dispossess many important Banyiginya who had been associated with him, Musinga had no power to save his paternal relatives, not even those closest to him, like Sebuharara, who was killed in the April 1904 massacre. During the struggle for power, Kabare had dispersed Musinga’s own guard, the regiment named Indenga-baganizi; in so doing, he had deprived the young mwami of his one personal source of support as well as of the social companionship of his favorite comrades.
Musinga was a slender young man, about 6 feet 6 inches tall, but he did not otherwise conform to the aesthetic ideal of the Tutsi. His upper teeth protruded and his eyes were too prominent. Extremely near-sighted, he often fixed his visitors with a myopic stare. Later in life he was to be fitted with European-made glasses, but he apparently never wore them regularly. He spoke slowly and rather softly. Like other Tutsi, he shaved the hair from his head except for two crescent-shaped patches. The direction in which the crescents faced were unique to him, a sign of his royal position. When attired in the leopard skins and beaded headdress that symbolized his office, he made an impressive figure. In ordinary dress of loosely draped cloth tied at the shoulder he was not a handsome man, although the German who recorded that “he is the ugliest Ntussi that I saw in all of Rwanda” was surely exaggerating.
The son of two powerful and strong-willed parents, Musinga must have learned to respect parental authority early in life. Had Kanjogera been simply a wife of Rwabugiri, Musinga would have seen his father only occasionally: the mwami, like his notables, endowed his wives with separate domains where they lived with their children and which the mwami visited at his pleasure. But since Kanjogera became queen mother after the enthronement of Rutarindwa as co-regnant in 1889, she and most likely Musinga as well frequently traveled with the mwami. The child undoubtedly feared his apparently omnipotent father, who was renowned for his quick temper. Musinga probably knew that although Rwabugiri favored Kanjogera over his other wives, his father did not especially care for him. The mwami bestowed on Musinga none of the real or ceremonial marks of esteem that he granted to some of his other sons. His appointment of Kanjogera to reign with Rutarindwa demonstrated that he differentiated sharply between his attitude toward the mother and toward the son.https://uk.amateka.net/musingas-coming-of-age-1905-1913/https://uk.amateka.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/musinga.pnghttps://uk.amateka.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/musinga-150x150.pngHistory of kingsAhaje ubwanwa haba hanze ubwana. When Kabare won supreme influence at Court in late 1904, Musinga was a young man of twenty or twenty-one. He had already taken several wives and fathered two or three children. According to Rwandan practice, Musinga should have attained full manhood when he had first...BarataBarata firstname.lastname@example.orgAdministratorAMATEKA | HISTORY OF RWANDA