Thomas Mazimpaka

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Thomas Mazimpaka (* 1958 in Nkamba ) is a Rwandan who, due to his affiliation to the Tutsi ethnic group, was forced to flee by the looming genocide in Rwanda and who applied for asylum in Germany in 1991 . With his book Ein Tutsi in Deutschland ( filmed in 1999 by WDR under the name Ein Tutsi in Dresden ), he drew attention to the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers by the authorities and, in his opinion, the widespread racism in Germany. In 1994 a Tutsi-led army took power in Rwanda and drove out the genocides. In 1998 Thomas Mazimpaka withdrew his asylum application and founded the “Help for Orphans” initiative in Rwanda.


In Rwanda

Thomas Mazimpaka was born in 1958 in Nkamba, about 50 km east of Kigali , the capital of Rwanda. After graduating from Saint Esprit College in Bujumbura , the capital of Burundi , he studied business administration at the Kisangani School of Economics in Zaire . After completing his studies, Mazimpaka worked in the finance departments of various companies in Kigali until the outbreak of the civil war.

After the outbreak of civil war in Rwanda in 1990, waves of racially motivated Tutsi murders by members of the Hutu majority, Thomas Mazimpaka decided to leave the country.

In Germany

In 1991 he applied for asylum in Germany and was initially housed in various asylum seekers' homes in Saxony until the decision was made . Here he was confronted with xenophobic attacks and authorities unwilling to act, which prompted him to learn the German language and finally to write the autobiography Ein Tutsi in Deutschland . The book was filmed in 1998 by Hansjürgen Hilgert under the title Ein Tutsi in Dresden . This documentary won the 1999 Civis Media Prize .

During his stay in Germany, Thomas Mazimpaka took part in several talk shows and organized numerous information events in schools and churches throughout Germany in order to draw attention to the situation of foreigners in the FRG.

Return to Rwanda

In 1998, Thomas Mazimpaka withdrew his application for asylum in protest of the extremely slow asylum procedure and left Germany to start a new life in his home country Rwanda. In Kigali he came into contact with the German Development Service (DED) and founded an aid organization for orphans of genocide in 2000 with the support of some German parishes.

In 2001 the film Der Tutsi aus Dresden - zurück im Rwanda by Hansjürgen Hilgert was released, which documents Mazimpaka's return to his home country.


  • Thomas Mazimpaka: A Tutsi in Germany. The fate of a refugee. Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 1998, ISBN 3-374-01652-9

Web links


  1. Short biography on
  2. ^ Archive of the WDR ( Memento from December 31, 2006 in the Internet Archive )