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Culture and People in Burundi feat. Keke

In today’s post on The Social Coffee Blog, Keke will tell us more about culture and people in Burundi. We are excited to learn more about Burundi through the eyes of Keke.

Geography and climate of Burundi

“Located in Eastern Africa, Burundi is a beautiful country geographically speaking – and the climate is good as well. Burundi is one of the very few African countries with a sense of linguistic homogeneity, Burundians speak the same national language Kirundi. French is the first foreign language and English is progressively becoming more important. Swahili also is spoken in urban areas and along the Tanganyika Lake."

Beautifull hillls with palmtrees and coffee growing below blue sky
Landscape in Burundi

Learning about Burundian lifestyle and religion

"The traditional clothing in Burundi is a cloth wraparound called "Pagne". In rural areas, women, girls and elderly men still wear them over dresses, blouses or shirts. Women also wear scarves over their heads. Men always wear long trousers; shorts are only worn by young children.
The vast majority of Burundian citizens are Christian and around 20% of Burundians follow African religions with a few percent being Muslim."

Keke tells us about the political landscape of Burundi and the history of her country

"Burundian people’s daily life has been shaped by the exigencies of survival in a time of civil strife and ethnic hatred. Many important social institutions such as families and the village council, have lost their influence, weakened by political chaos and the widespread displacement of the population. Most Burundians lead a life of many challenges and it is very difficult to make ends meet. However, a minority of Burundians live in luxury and there is a big gap separating the rich and the poor."

We also asked Keke to tell us more about art and music in Burundi

"Burundi's culture is based on local tradition and the influence of neighboring countries. The culture of Burundi is based on songs, traditional dances, stories, and legends. Poetry is sometimes recited during social gatherings."

Keke stands infront of her band's set up holding a microphone and wearing a black dress
Keke before a performance

"Drums play a big part in the music of most African countries but in Burundi they have an almost spiritual meaning: The world-famous royal drummers of Burundi, who have performed for over forty years, are famous for traditional drumming using so-called karyenda, amashako and ikiranya drums. Dance often accompanies drumming performances, which is frequently seen in celebrations and family gatherings. Also, shepherds have their own pastoral songs which they sing at the end of the day when leading the animals back from the pastures, and in the home the elders tell the young generation stories and legends about the lives of their ancestors."

Traditional drum ceremony in burundi, men and a boy standing in green, red and white robes with a drum on red sand
Traditional drum ceremony

"Art in Burundi is extremely varied. Crafts, for example basket weaving, are an important art form in Burundi. Other crafts such as masks, shields, statues and pottery are also made in Burundi. Burundian Museums that celebrate the country's heritage include the National Museum in Gitega and the Musée Vivant in Bujumbura, which also includes botanical gardens and animal exhibits."

A big, pointy basket woven in brown and red
When Burundians visiti each other, they always bring vegetables or fruit in this basket, the IGISEKE

A red coloured igisabo which holds milk or yogurt
The IGISABO, used for keeping milk and making natural yogurt

"Burundian people are very hospitable and if there is a place in the world where foreigners feel safe and secure, it is Burundi.”
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