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URAKOZE & More - Kirundi Expressions feat. Keke

Have you ever turned a package of Bean United coffee upside down? Find out what this has to do with our projects in Burundi and with Keke, our Social Burundi Reporter.

Urakoze is "thank you" in Burundi

Urakoze is the Kirundi word for "thank you". Kirundi is - alongside French - one of the official languages of Burundi. It is also spoken in neighboring parts of Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Even though French is mostly used in formal contexts, Kirundi is the language of communication and everyday life. Kirundi is written using the Latin alphabet, introduced during the colonial period when Burundi was under Belgian rule. Kirundi is an important part of Burundian identity and culture, for it serves as a means of communication for millions of people both within the country and in diaspora communities around the world. Also, Burundi's art and literature, its riddles, myths and pastoral songs are mainly in Kirundi. This highlights the importance of this language besides the official language French and the also occurring languages Swahili or - less frequently - English.

Kirundi - the essentials

To learn more about Burundi, its languages and culture, we asked Keke to provide us with the ten most important expressions in Kirundi. Here is what she said:

  • Mwaramutse - Good Morning

  • Murakomeye - Are you fine?

  • Mwiriwe - Good evening

  • Amahoro - Peace (we use this as a greeting when we meet someone)

  • Urakoze - Thank you

  • Uba hehe? - Where do you live?

  • Shaka amazi - I need some water

  • Ijoro ryiza - Good night

  • Ndashaka gufungura - I need to eat

  • Ncehehe? - Where can I pass?

Three children and two men around a table lifting their arms and laughing. Stands for Bean United's long-standing relationships and firendships in Burundi.
Benni and Thomas in Burundi, 2022

What does Urakoze mean to Bean United?

Urakoze on our coffee packages stands for the gratefulness and respect we hold for our friends and partners in Burundi. Without both the individuals and the projects, our work would not be possible. We value highly that we have the opportunity to travel to Burundi at regular intervals and to visit both the Embrace House and the School Meals Program - besides our friends like Keke or Papa Kenny.

A man at an old sewing machine making little bags for bracelets.
Papa Kenny


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