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Metises of Belgium

Productiehuis De Chinezen
Time period: 1950 - 1960
Number of interviews: 3
Accessibility: By appointment via

The harrowing story of the children of Belgian colonials and African mothers who were placed in foster homes in Belgium in the late 1950s.

Exactly 60 years after the independence of Rwanda and Burundi, the three-part documentary series Metissen van België tells the staggering history of more than 300 metis from the Belgian colonial period in Rwanda. The makers of the series do so through the life stories of three of them: Jaak, Paul and Jacqueline.

As illegitimate children of a white father and a black mother, they were taken away from their mother by the Belgian government and placed in Save’s boarding school in Rwanda. Just before independence, they had to leave there too and were rushed to Belgium.

There, uprooted and traumatized, they ended up in an adoptive family or an orphanage. These were events that marked the rest of their lives. Only in 2015 did they get access to their official files and were able to search for their roots.


press release

Former Belgian colonists

Time period: 1950-1960
Number of interviews: 21
Accessibility: in the reading room with an obligatory registration
Transcripts: none
Period of interviews: around 2007
Medium: Original: audiotapes, audiocassettes and minidiscs Current: mp3; wav; flac

Florence Gillet holds a master’s degree in History and a master’s degree in Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). She specialises in Belgian colonial propaganda in the United States during the Second World War, and André Cauvin’s films in particular. Between 2004 and 2007, she worked on the social memory of former Belgian colonists for CegeSoma. It is in this context that she has carried out a series of interviews with former colonists, while also heading CegeSoma’s “Images and Sounds” archives. She has also been in charge of the Centre’s digitisation sector since 2016.