BUJUMBURA August 16th (ABP) – The “Gumya” association continued on Friday August 12, 2022, at the Living Museum of Bujumbura, the activities counting for the second edition of the “Igihugu” (Homeland) festival in a traditional vigil called “Ku ziko”, enhanced by the presence of the legal representative of the said association, Mr. Pierre Nkurikiye. That vigil was embellished by traditional songs animated using traditional instruments called Inanga, Umuduri and Ikembe as well as three presentations on Burundian culture and language. It was marked by the presence of traditional objects such as calabashes and the clay jug containing a traditional drink commonly called “Impeke” as well as various foods, cooked traditionally to finally be served to participants seated on traditional mats, a check on the site by ABP has revealed. During the first presentation on language and culture, Professor Jean Bosco Manirambona said that language emanates from the culture that makes it grow until it becomes a tool that consists in transmitting that culture from generation to generation. For the mother tongue to develop, there must be love for oneself and one’s family, the security of the country, bravery in the search for a place of choice in the concert of nations, as well as the consolidation of the culture.
Thus, Mr. Manirambona defined culture as a response to the problems faced by a community or a country, where communities differ from each other in their cultures because, he explained, they do not share not the same problems and needs.
According to that university professor, our ancestors considered culture as a light that illuminates their daily activities. Anyone who acts contrary to the rules of their culture, humility and human worth, cannot be a light to others, stressed Prof. Manirambona.
He also deplored that Burundian culture has been reduced since the arrival of missionaries and colonizers who, apart from not changing anything at the level of belief, have considered the culture and ancestral customs of Burundians as diabolical beliefs when, he continued, Burundians already obeyed God and were able to distinguish between good and evil. “China and Korea have consolidated their languages and cultures to develop. They have adopted the strategy of translating all the knowledge acquired into their languages in accordance with the rules of their cultures”, illustrated Mr. Manirambona and Sébastien Ntahongendera, who consider the mother tongue as the storehouse of knowledge. Mr. Manirambona finally called on Burundians to change their mentality by taking the trouble to read books and newspapers written in their mother tongue with the aim of cultivating and valuing the latter.
The university professor, Mr. Denis Bukuru, clarified in his presentation that Burundian culture is handicapped by Western religion, assimilated education in foreign languages without taking into account the rules of our culture as well as the messages circulating through the social media.
According to Mr. Bukuru, the unfortunate events that Burundi has known since independence have taken place because the Burundians have got rid of their culture, defined by him as the heart of the country, a torch that illuminates the country and gives it life, an identity and the irreplaceable legacy that cannot be sold or given to any other country. He also pointed out that those unfortunate events had been revealed at the time of the monarchy by the named “Ngwano ya Runyota”, under the supremacy of Ntare Rugamba in the years 1934-1935. “For His Majesty the King of Burundi, under the reign which is not yours and which is not that of the king, there will be chaos in the country where man will become a wolf for man”, revealed Mr. Bukuru quoting Ngwano ya Runyota, known during the monarchy era as a diviner or a prophet of the country. Based on the first book of Samuel, chapter 9 verse 9, Prof. Bukuru pointed out that culture can be considered as the word of God. He explained that in the Old Testament, it is about the culture and customs that the Israelis had put together and called the “Word of God” in order to transmit them from generation to generation. The director of the Burundian Reading and Cultural Animation Center (CEBULAC) under the supervision of the Ministry in charge of Culture, Mr. Sébastien Ntahongendera, wondered why Burundians have assimilated Western customs by bearing names foreign or Christian names when they do not know their meanings. “Even if customs and mores change, you have to build something new on the old trunk,” quoting Father Adrien Ntabona, adding that if you don’t like the customs and mores of your country, you cannot defend his homeland and develop it.
The legal representative of the “Gumya” association warmly thanked all the participants in that traditional vigil organized as part of raising awareness among the people to value their traditional food which does not harm their health and culture in order to achieve sustainable development.