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BURUNDI CALLS OUT THE NYEGE NYEGE FESTIVAL OVER ‘MISUSE OF SACRED DRUMS’

BURUNDI CALLS OUT THE NYEGE NYEGE FESTIVAL OVER ‘MISUSE OF SACRED DRUMS’
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Renson Mwakandana

Burundi 🇧🇮 has criticized the Nyege event that took place last week in Itanda Falls, Uganda 🇺🇬, for what it termed “misuse of the country’s traditional and holy drum.”

The country is aware of the abuse of the Burundian Sacred Drum at the Nyege Nyege [Festival], according to a tweet from the Ministry of EAC, Culture, and Sports.

National and international opinion is informed by the ministry responsible for a culture that it would never accept anyone who disrespects Burundian culture and customs.

The response occurred when images of women playing the drums at the event surfaced on social media. In Burundian culture, women are only permitted to dance when wearing appropriate clothing and are not permitted to play the drums.
Woman playing the sacred drums at the Nyege Festival /Bivanda/

According to Article 21 of the 2017 presidential decree governing the Burundian Drum, the promoter or organization who displays the drum without authorization may be penalized by having their right to display the drum for six months suspended and by paying a fine of 1,000,000Fbu ($490).

“Article 22: Without prejudice to Article 20, the Ministry of Culture in its powers can apply sanctions in the event of inappropriate exploitation of this cultural element.”

The ‘umurisho w’ingoma‘ ritual dance and the Royal drum of Burundi are recognized as intangible cultural treasures by UNESCO (ICH). The list includes items that highlight the heritage’s variety.

The royal drums in Burundi were the cornerstones of the country’s monarchical power and were revered; as a result, they were only played on major occasions and in prominent locations to announce national celebrations like a monarch’s coronation, death, and the start of a new growing season.

The royal drums in Burundi played on major occasions and in prominent locations /Lugha Yangu/

One of the most well-known historical places of Burundian drummers is Gishora, located in the region of Gitega. The land is currently being handled by the ABATIMBO, a local municipality. Burundi drums, however, are now occasionally played as entertainment at festivals, weddings, and formal events.

Burundian Drummers at the Gishora drum sanctuary in Gitega /Atlas Obscura/
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