This embroidery depicts an ideal vision of motherhood as it has come down through centuries of Rwandan tradition and custom. Beautifully and sensitively rendered, this mother cradles her babe. She wears the white headband that signifies she is a young mother. Her dress and jewelry are finely wrought.
But much has changed in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis. Because many more men than women were killed, it has fallen to women to assume the roles of income earner, head of household, and community leader. Though they still prize their maternal role, Rwanda’s women are now entrepreneurs, bankers, ministers, judges, and senators. In fact, Rwanda has the world’s first national legislature with a female majority.