Rwanda retrospective

This picture of Watsui dancers in Rwanda is part of a fascinating series of photos from 1920’s through to the 1950’s in DR Congo and Rwanda. Flickr user Lucien has very kindly uploaded photographs taken by his grandparents along with a number of images by other photographers from the same period. His grandparents travelled repeatedly to the region, and although they were mostly based in what was then Belgian Congo, they did travel to Rwanda on occasion. Lucien explains the story behind the pictures here,

I have little information about the pictures, except for notes that my grandfather scribbled on their back. Sometimes, there is only the name of the place, or a year, and sometimes nothing at all. Unfortunately, I didn’t know my grandparents very well, and they died before I was old enough to ask cogent questions about themselves, their work, their life, or the photos. According to a couple of my grandfather’s notes, they used a Voigtlander 6×9 and, starting in the early 1950s, a Rolleiflex 6×6. Except for the postcards and photos they got from the professionals mentioned, the quality of their own photos is generally poor, although I cannot be certain about this because all negatives are lost. I only have the prints, which, I think, were produced by contact. What I show here are scans of these prints and postcards. I did not edit them extensively. I only cropped them a little bit, eliminated the obvious scratches and blemishes, adjusted the levels, the brightness and the contrast, and applied a bit of sharpening. link

Thanks to Lucien for agreeing to show the pictures on Kigali Wire. I have embedded all the photos tagged with Rwanda below,

Lucien is not the only Flickr user uploading historic pictures of Rwanda and the wider region. Take a look at PGKivu for more images. Here are the Rwanda images for that account.

2 Responses to “Rwanda retrospective”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Roger Ledger, Graham Holliday. Graham Holliday said: Fascinating photographic look back at Rwanda & DR Congo in early 20th century – […]

  2. Patrick says:

    Fascinating photos indeed. But it’s ‘Watusi’ or Tutsi. Not Watsui. Please…