The University of Wisconsin Press

African Studies / Anthropology / History


A Hill Among a Thousand
Transformations and Ruptures in Rural Rwanda
Danielle de Lame
Translated by Helen Arnold

Africa and the Diaspora: History, Politics, Culture
Thomas Spear, David Henige, and Michael Schatzberg, Series Editors

The most outstanding contribution to the anthropology of Rwanda during the 1980s and 1990s. Danielle de Lame’s A Hill among a Thousand weaves observation and theoretical analysis into a seamless whole.”
—Jan Vansina, author of Antecedents of Modern Rwanda: The Nyiginya Kingdom

Sometimes called “the land of a thousand hills,” Rwanda has witnessed upheavals of massive proportions. Looking at the people of one hill community, Danielle de Lame shows how they coped with unprecedented change during the twilight years of Rwanda’s Second Republic. In an insightful, meticulously researched study focusing on the late 1980s and early 1990s, de Lame situates this rural community, located at the heart of the Kibuye prefecture, within the larger context of Rwandan history and society. In this country without villages, it is the networks of kinship, administration, and commerce that create complex patterns of solidarity and dependency. De Lame reveals these patterns in all their intricacy, and her treatment of the region and its rhythms speaks at the same time to the economics of production, the inequalities of power, and the dynamics of social transformation. The ultimate goal of her work is to restore the individuality of the people she studies, “making them neither executioners nor victims but men and women fashioning their own destiny, day after day.”

“De Lame’s familiarity with Rwandan historiography is unparalleled. As a field researcher, she spent long periods in Rwanda and used her time well. The result: an ethnography that gives that gives full recognition to the complexities of a field too often treated in reductionist terms.”
—David Newbury, Smith College

Danielle de Lame is the coauthor of the national Rwandan bibliography. She is currently head of the Social Anthropology and Ethnohistory Section at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium.

Copublished with the Royal Museum for Central Africa
The Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium, is a center of research and knowledge dissemination on past and present societies and natural environments of Africa and, in particular, Central Africa.

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the cover of de lame's book is a photo of a group of people in Africa. Women are in the foreground. They seem happy. There may be some men further back in the crowd.

August 2005

576 p
p.   6 x 9
3 b/w photos, 1 map, 9 charts

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