Hebraic Traditions of the Batutsi

I have been told of Kulanu’s heavy interest in Hebraic techouvah of dispersed tribes of Israel. So I am very proud to have your direct confirmation of such a prophetic purpose.

Our own organization, Havila, develops a similar program on a restrictive area: We focus our efforts on the Hebraic remnants of pre-talmudic tribes of Israel, isolated on the “other side of the rivers of Ethiopia,” according to Zephaniah, 3,10.

The historical and geographical land pointed out by the Zephanian prophecy has been identified by the prestigious talmudist Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzhak) as the White Nile basin. The biblical name of that land is Havila, according to Genesis 2,11. One of the Hebraic tribes isolated in the sacred land of Havila is called Tutsi or Batutsi.

During these last 40 years, the Batutsi have almost been exterminated, and until now they are being hunted because of their Hebraic identity and their Solomonic legacy. According to their Solomonic and Samsonic memory and legacy, they claim to be the descendants of two Israelite Tribes — Judah and Dan. Those who perpetuated the Solomonic Kingdom of Zagwe in the land of Havila (South of Ethiopia, particularly Burundi, Rwanda, Kivu, Masisi, and Shaba) claim to be the sons of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

Some clans among Batutsi are contemporary with the time of Moses, people who moved from Egypt, judging by the exact knowledge they display about the laws of Moses. Others joined their brothers after the different misfortunes that affected the Israelite people, such as the destruction of the Holy Temple of Yerusalem. The Batutsi Halakhah has kept encoded references to these events, such as the annual Festival of Sukkot, called Umuganuro (literally “the festival of return”).

The cultural and religious references of Batutsi allude to either the pharaonic monotheism of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt or Moses’s laws in the Hebraic Torah.

The Havila Institute has concentrated its efforts on the description and analysis of the biblical culture as carried by the ancient Batutsi. The parallelism of pharaonic practices and symbols with the Batutsi standards refers to the culture of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt and explains the Mosaic faith of the Batutsi. The antiquity of Batutsi monotheism has always been astonishing to the European witnesses, including those who reached the land of Havila in the early 19th century.

The political organization of the Batutsi kingdoms (from the Kush Kingdom until post-Zaagwe Kingdoms — 1270-1960) are strictly related to the Solomonic system. The Hebraic kashrut under the Levitic law is the staple of Batutsi feeding. The Batutsi system of law is the exact copy of the Deuteronomic Code, and none can attest that such a system is of recent import.

Among the numerous witnesses of the Batutsi Hebraicity, we point out the famous 9th century traveler, Eldad HaDani. He has confirmed the authenticity and the anteriority of the Mosaic civilization of the Hebraic Tribes settled around the River Pishon (White Nile) in the biblical land of Havila. The geographical localization of the land of Havila and the River Pishon around the lower Nile, part of Ethiopia, has been attested to in a precious document that has been transmitted from generations to generations of scholars. We are referring to the famous Letter addressed by Eldad HaDani to the Jews of Spain, in 883.

“This was my going forth from the other side of the rivers of Ethiopia,” he said.

And then he relates the local memory of the four tribes which crossed from Israel to Ethiopia, after the death of Sennacherib, king of Assyria:

And these tribes, being Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher, dwell in the ancient Havilah, where gold is, and they trusted in their Maker, and the Lord helped them.

Eldad notes strict observance of kashrut:

No unclean thing is to be found with them, no unclean fowl, no unclean beast, no unclean cattle, no flies, no fleas, no lice, no fox, no scorpions, no serpents, and no dogs. All these were in the idolatrous land, where they had been in servitude. They have only sheep, oxen, and fowls, and their sheep bring forth twice a year.

Batutsi means literally “Those whose permanent occupation is to lead cattle to the pasture,” Eldad confirms this:

These four tribes have gold and silver and precious stones, and much sheep and cattle and camels and asses, and they sow and they reap, and they dwell in tents, and, when they will, they journey and encamp in tents, from border to border, two days by two days’ journey, and in the place they encamp there is no place where the foot of man enters.

Eldad testifies to the Mosaic faith of the Batutsi:

They are of perfect faith and their Talmu [i.e., ancient Halakha] is all in Hebrew, and thus they learn … But they know no Rabbis, for these were of the Second Temple and they did not reach them.

Indeed, Havila Institute has already pointed out numerous linguistic roots which support the Batutsi lexical system. These linguistic particles are common in Hebrew and Batutsi idiom.

Now, everyone can remember the bitter debates that followed the Eldad testament through the centuries, until now. Thanks to the constant efforts of scholars, working in the Havila framework, under my supervision, it is now possible to give precious and systematic indications on that wonderful phenomenon of encoding Hebraic memory. The ancient material civilization of Batutsi, their language, their mythology, their religion, their political legacy and their general way of life, all those matters can be described exactly as related by Eldad HaDani.

The crossing of Kulanu and Havila paths is certainly written in the Highest’s wills. I am now confident that many things will change very soon, in the destiny of all the peoples concerned by our common preoccupations.

(The writer, a Burundi-born Tutsi scholar, lives in exile in Brussels, where he founded the Havila Institute.)