Instagram
Tumblr
LinkedIn

THE EAST AFRICAN SERIES, DAY 3

Bujumbura – Gitega

A riot with the royal drummers and Batwas of Burundi. Today we are starting with Burundi’s number 1 attraction, the Royal Drummers of Burundi.

OF ALL THE PLACES TO CROWD SURF, BURUNDI WOULD HAVE BEEN MY LAST GUESS!

These drummers have been going for centuries and in the beginning only performing once a year outside of the royal palace

After yesterdays show I knew it was going to be good but even though that performance was incredible this one was on a completely different level.

WHERE IS GITEGA?

Gitega

TOUR

We started with a little briefing and some history then we were taken through the little village of huts and shown the kitchen and sleeping quarters, the place is kept very tidy!

DAILY INFO… DAY 3

  • HOTEL – Ubuntu Residence 7/10
  • FOOD –
    Lunch – Chicken & Rice
    Dinner – bruschetta (skewers) & pizza…lol
  • ATTRACTIONS –
    Royal Drummers of Burundi
    Batwa Community
  • STEPS – 4,138

THE PERFORMANCE

Eventually we arrived at the ‘arena’ and settled down for the drummers. The preparation and training these men must go through is incredible, some of these drums are 50kg and must be balanced on their head while continuing to play and dance!

You’ll see every performer doing their bit at the front as the procession moves around so each get a moment at centre stage and no one lets the opportunity pass by. Each performer does their most, jumps the highest, shouts the loudest and of course gives the main drum (karyenda) a fair doing.

I’m not sure I have ever seen a performance so intense and people so cheerful and enthusiastic, it was very contiguous 😄

A riot with the royal drummers and batwas of Burundi

THE DRIVE

It took around 2 hours to get to the Batwa community and it’s safe to say I’ve had my eyes open (given a shock). The men, women and children here work incredibly hard. There were kids as young as 8 or 9 doing farm and road work. When bringing up a family in a place like Burundi you have little options but to put your children into labour.

BATWA COMMUNITY

I really wasn’t sure what to expect here. For a start another agency refused to even acknowledge that I had asked to visit such a place and I really didn’t want it to be like a zoo. Sticking my camera in the faces of people who didn’t want me to be there wasn’t what I was looking for. But…It was incredible.

After arriving we walked into the courtyard and was immediately overwhelmed by the number of people there, each of who then burst into song and dance as part of the welcome ceremony. Then I found myself being held aloft and above the heads of the locals while they sang, it was something akin to what I would expect on the dance floor of Pacha, Ibiza. Infact even Pacha wouldn’t be that rowdy. Everyone was in full flow and there was zero let up.

 RELATED READ: THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

A riot with the royal drummers and batwas of Burundi

GREETING

After the performance I was then given a greeting by the community leader and then a short tour of the court yard. This is without doubt an experience I will remember for the rest of my life and one I will likely pull from the hat if asked. Out of all the places to crowd surf, I did not expect it to be here, it blew my mind.

Back to Bujumbura and checking into Ubuntu Residence for the last 2 nights, a decent hotel over looking the lake.

  BURUNDI – ABOUT THE COUNTRY:
  • LANGUAGE – Kirundi, French and English
  • HELLO – “Amahoro”
  • HOW TO CHEERS – “Soma rusose”
  • LOCAL BEER – Amstel Bock
  • POPULAR SPORT – Football
  • STAPLE DIET – Beans

A riot with the royal drummers and batwas of Burundi

FINAL THOUGHTS

What can I say, only on day 3 and already lost for words.

NEXT UP

Checking out Bujumbura and the lake!!! Click to read.

SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
153/229

This post is part of The East African Series, for the entire series click here or for episode 1, click here.
To watch the video of my trip, head to my highlights on my Instagram.

Question Time

  • Do you enjoy these off the beaten path experiences?
  • Have you visited any tribes?
  • Would it interest you?

Let me know in the comments below . . .

Send this to someone who might like it
THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOTEL ROOM IN THE POOREST COUNTRY
CHECKING OUT BUJUMBURA

About the Author

Instagram
Tumblr
LinkedIn

Related Articles:

Got a question, some advice or want to tell me about your experience?

I’d love to hear it . . .

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Menu