Burundi drums were the pillars of the monarchical power and sacred, these were used in only special occasions and important places that proclaimed the country’s great events such as the coronation of a monarch, the funeral of a sovereign and the new agricultural season. PHOTO|FILE: BurundiTimes

Burundi government has slammed a Rwandan based traditional dancing group (Club Himbaza) performance at the East Africa Got Talent show on August 18th in Kenya, this comes after the dancing group performed the country’s ritual dance of the royal drum at the regional platform that raised mixed reactions in the country.

“We condemn this act with all our energy because the performance was against the Burundian law and violated the Burundian culture,” said Pelat Niyonkuru Burundi’s culture and sports minister.

According to officials in Bujumbura the drummers never wore clothes that reflect the Burundian flag nor did the drum bare the country’s flag, as is said to be the basic standards while performing the ritual dance.

In 2017 Burundi government introduced a law aimed at conserving and protecting the country’s ritual dance of the royal drum, if without special authorization the law prohibits any performance of the dance with exception of official ceremonies.

The move came three years after the Royal drum was inscribed in the list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO, “the dance is originally from Burundi and we are based in Rwanda since 2015,” said one of the drummers during the show.

In 2015 when the country plunged into political turmoil hundreds of Burundians fled to the neighboring countries including Rwanda.

Burundi’s statement condemning the Rwandan based traditional dancing group comes amid deteriorating relation between the two East African countries.

The relation between Burundi and Rwanda soared since 2015 when Bujumbura accused Rwanda of masterminding the 2015 failed coup, in return Rwanda accuses Burundi of sheltering the FDLR rebels accused of committing the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Ritual dance of the royal drum

In Burundi drums were the pillars of the monarchical power and sacred, these were used in only special occasions and important places that proclaimed the country’s great events such as the coronation of a monarch, the funeral of a sovereign and the new agricultural season. Gishora located in Gitega province the country’s political capital is one of the most famous areas of Burundi drummers which is located at the top hill at 7kms from the urban center of Gitega. The site was and still managed by the local community called the ABATIMBO. Gishora manage sanctuary drums as the Burundi’s culture tradition. They restore the overall architectural kingdom in the country in which the famous drummers present Burundi’s basic culture and heritage found in the center of the country.

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