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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

The children of Save

Number of interviews: 9
Accessibility: In the study room
Transcripts: no
Period of interviews: 2010 - 2012
Medium: Original carriers: audiotapes, audiocassettes and minidiscs. Current files: mp3; wav; flac.

Between 2010 and 2012, Sarah Heynssens conducted approximately ten interviews as part of her research at the CegeSoma on “Les enfants de Save”, which aimed to reconstruct the events relating to the transfer of children from “mulatto” institutions, such as the Save orphanage in Rwanda, to Belgium on the eve of decolonisation.