Adventist University of Central and East Africa
History of AUCA
The Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA) was founded in 1978, but the official opening was held on 15 October 1984. By that time it was located at Mudende, in the former commune of Mutura, Gisenyi prefecture (one component of the current Western Province).
Following the genocide against Tutsis of 1994, AUCA had temporarily suspended its activities until 7 May 1996, during which time the university reopened its doors on a transitional site in Kigali. Since then, the university could only run three of its original faculties (7 faculties), namely: Business Administration, Education Sciences and Theology.
The need to rebuild a university has been badly felt since 1998. Therefore, several attempts for reconstruction failed because of lack of means, will, or both at the same time. It was only in 2001 that one could truly speak of the beginning of the process of reconstruction.
We mentioned above that AUCA reopened its doors in 1984. Its development was very fast in terms of academic and administrative staff, student enrolment, as well as in infrastructure. That is why, in less than 10 years, AUCA has become a great centre of higher learning known in the whole Adventist French-speaking Africa.
However, everything did not turn for the better in the best of the possible worlds. After 10 years of absolute growth, it was a total toppling. Everything that had been achieved during that period was destroyed in just a few months and the fate of the university seemed inexorably compromised. Indeed, the destruction of the campus happened in successive waves:
- The period of the genocide against Tutsis (April 94 – July 94), during which time the campus was looted by hordes from various origins (local population, the military and the desperate Interahamwe militia, AUCA staff who had remained in place helped themselves before fleeing, etc.).
- The campus became then “a sort of no man’s land” remained for several years to thank you for all those who wanted to take something. Thus, from the lightest to the heaviest, in the long run anything free or immovable was taken away. However, buildings and fixed assets were not affected.
- End 1996, the first influx of Zairian refugees from the neighbouring Kibumba (DRC), was sheltered at Mudende campus. A few months later the refugees returned home but they were replaced by some other refugees more numerous than the former. The prolonged stay of the latter became more detrimental to the survival of the campus. These refugees were the first to sell or destroy fixed assets (sanitation facilities: sink, toilets, bathtubs, water heaters, ceilings for heating, etc.). The campus lost its true face.
- The war of infiltrators completed the work of destruction. Firstly, by making the campus completely uninhabited, for it was practically uninhabitable, secondly by putting it to the disposal of all sorts of adventurers. During this period (97-99), generators, iron sheets, metalic doors and even, in some places, windows were sept away.
- The photos below show a portion of what remains of Mudende. We took them during the damage assessment by the Joint UNHCR-AUCA-Ministry of Public Works. One can see the central academic building, the dormitories for girls and boys, the cafeteria, the faculty of science, etc.