Burundi Culture

Burundi Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Burundi

According to HISTORYAAH.COM, Burundi is a country located in Africa. The daily distribution in Burundi is very small (less than 1 newspaper ex. Per 1,000 residents, 2000). French-language and state-controlled Le Renouveau du Burundi (edition: about 20,000 copies), founded in 1978, is the country’s only daily newspaper.

State La Radiodiffusion et Télévision Nationale du Burundi (RTNB) has been broadcasting daily broadcasts in 1960s, Swahili, French and English. In 1996, an EU-funded private radio station began broadcasting programs advocating national reconciliation. Since 1985, RTNB has a TV channel, whose offerings are dominated by imported, mainly French programs. There are 220 radio and 30 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, Burundi has a rich oral tradition of poetry, fables and legends that are often toned down. Drums occupy a special position in music. Burundi also has strong traditions in crafts.

Since illiteracy has long been high among the population, the written literature has remained limited.

Back in history, drummers used to follow the king on his travels. The drumming was considered safe for the kingdom’s survival and prosperity. Nowadays the drumming lives on in official and religious ceremonies. The dance and drum ensemble Les Tambourinaires du Burundi (The Royal Drummers of Burundi) is internationally known and has toured in Europe and the United States.

The song has a central cultural function in family events as well as in religious and official contexts. The songs are usually accompanied by domestic wind and string instruments.

All crafts in Burundi have a practical function. This applies to wood carving as well as pottery and wickerwork.

In the capital Bujumbura there is a museum of “living history” with, among other things, a handicraft village. There is also a museum in the town of Gitega.



Campaign start before referendum

13th of December

President Nkurunziza starts his campaign ahead of the referendum to be held in 2018 on a constitutional change that will allow the president to be re-elected several times. The opposition that opposes the change calls Nkurunziza’s campaign launch a “declaration of war”.


The ICC begins to investigate the violence after the crisis in 2015

November 9

The International Criminal Court (ICC) opens a full-scale investigation into the wave of violence that surrounded the 2015 presidential election (see Current Policy). According to the UN, between 500 and 2000 people were killed; The ICC estimates the number of deaths to be at least 1200. The Chief Prosecutor of the Court, Fatou Bensouda, states that the preliminary investigation conducted gives her reason to believe that the Burundi government “deliberately carried out attacks on the civilian population in the form of murder, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual assault. violence”. Burundi left the ICC on October 26, 2017, but Bensouda states that it does not prevent the court from investigating crimes committed before. She also says that it is Burundi’s duty to cooperate with the court.


Burundi leaves ICC

October 26th

Burundi formally leaves the International Criminal Court ICC and thus becomes the first country in the world to take such a step. At the same time, officials at the court state that the preliminary investigation initiated by the court in April 2016 regarding crimes against humanity in Burundi will continue.

Proposed amended constitution

October 26th

Senior officials report that a few days earlier the government approved a draft constitutional amendment that theoretically allows President Nkurunziza to remain in office for another 14 years when his current presidential term expires in 2020. According to the officials, the ministers have also approved others constitutional changes that throw the prevailing division of power between Hutus and Tutsis over and over (see further Current Policy) . The officials state that the proposals will be submitted to a referendum within a few months. The news raises upset feelings of the opposition. Charles Nditije, who heads the opposition alliance CNARED , says Nkurunziza has now violated “a red line” and should be chased away from his post.

“Rebel leaders arrested in Tanzania”

October 23

The rebel group FPB (see September 2017) announces that four of the group’s top leaders have been arrested in eastern Tanzania and deported to Burundi. According to the FPB, the leaders, including senior leader Jeremie Ntiranyibagira and secondman Edouard Nshimirimana, were arrested in a joint campaign by Burundian and Tanzanian security forces. FPB fears that those arrested should be subjected to torture in Burundi. The arrest information cannot be immediately confirmed by official sources in Burundi or Tanzania. A news site that stands close to the Burundian government writes on Twitter that no deportation has taken place.


Radio station is closed by the government

September 29th

The CCIB FM + radio station operated by the country’s Chamber of Commerce is subject to a three-month broadcast ban. The reason is that the radio station has criticized the government’s silence about an event in Congo-Kinshasa on September 15, when 36 Burundian asylum seekers were shot dead during a demonstration. The decision to close is made by the National Media Council on the grounds that, through its criticism, the radio station has violated press ethical rules and the country’s press laws.


Rebel movement is reformed

August 27th

The rebel movement Burundi’s Republican Forces (Forebu) is being reshaped and renamed Burundi’s People’s Forces (Forces Populaires du Burundi, FPB). The leader of the new organization is Major General Jérémie Ntiranyibagira, who participated in the coup attempt in 2015 (see Current policy). Cup leader Godefroid Niyombare, who founded Forebu after the coup attempt, is missing from FPB’s management. The group is estimated to have over 300 to 500 soldiers, mostly Hutu.


Government warns new UN envoy

June 29

The Burundi government says it has confidence in the UN’s new envoy, Burkina Faso’s former president Michel Kafando, but warns him to take a stand for opposition groups or write “insulting” reports on Burundi. Kafando is the fourth UN envoy since the Burundi crisis broke out in June 2015. The government has had such strong objections to the former that they could not work. The UN’s problem in this context is that the government refuses to negotiate with the fugitive opposition.

UN report on continued abuse

June 15

Burundi security forces and the government’s youth organization Imbonerakure continue to torture and kill oppositionists, said an investigation group in a report to the UN Human Rights Council. The group has collected testimonies from more than 470 Burundians who have fled the country. Investigators have not been allowed into Burundi. The government rejects the information, saying that the report’s sole purpose is to “send high-ranking Burundian officials to The Hague,” that is, to the International Criminal Court (ICC).


Cohabitants must marry

May 26

The government decides that all unmarried couples living together must enter into a formal marriage. They get a deadline for the end of the year to marry, but there is no mention of any punishment for those who do not obey. The gift order is part of a “moralization campaign” initiated by the state. Formally, it is about slowing down a population explosion that the government and the church blame for “illegal marriage”, polygamy and bigamy. Critics accuse the president and his wife, who are both newly saved evangelical Christians, of operating a kind of crusade.


The Iteka Association is banned

January 3rd

The human rights movement Iteka Union is declared illegal. The government accuses the organization of “tarnishing the country’s reputation, spreading hatred between people and splitting the population”. The Iteka Association was founded in 1991 and has regularly reported abuse in the country. The organization is forced to work from abroad because of the persecution in Burundi.

The Minister of the Environment is murdered

January 1st

Environment Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru is shot dead in Burundi. He is the first member of government to be killed since the country went into crisis when President Nkurunziza was re-elected in 2015. Earlier attacks against high-ranking statesmen have regularly blamed the regime for Rwanda.

Burundi Culture

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