Rwanda silent over Burundi's accusation of "stealing" drums culture

APA - Kigali (Rwanda)

Rwandan officials are yet to comment on recent accusations by Burundian authorities who condemned the latest performance by group of Burundian refugees in Rwanda which is competing at a regional competition taking place in Nairobi, Kenya.

At the  ongoing ‘East Africa Got Talent’ television show in Nairobi-Kenya,  modeled on the famous ‘America Got Talent’, a group calling itself  “Himbaza Drummers” presented a performance using drums.

This  style of drumming, coupled with elaborate displays, is known for being  Burundian. It is the cultural export the Burundians have been sending to  the world.

In 2017, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, signed an act that would deal with the legal regulation of playing drums.

According  to the controversial law, yet from Senegal to Madagascar, all over the  African continent, drums have been the centrepiece of cultural  expressions, but from now, not everyone is allowed to perform these  ancient musical traditions in Burundi anymore.

However, Burundian  officials argue that this ancient cultural tradition has been known in  the country for a few hundred years as it dates back to the ancient  kingdom of the Burundi people.

In the meanwhile, the “Himbaza  Drummers” were so good the judges voted them to the next round of ‘East  Africa Got Talent’. It means the fight over the drummers is only  beginning.

Reacting to this performance, Burundian authorities  have accused Rwanda of stealing their cultural pride, drumming, and  doing it very badly.

They also lambast the organisers for not advertising the show in Burundi.

"Not  Original and not Authentic at all. These guys should be ashamed for  debasing the quality and the cultural originality of Burundi drums in  Rwanda," said Willy Nyamitwe, a senior advisor and spokesman of  Burundi’s President Nkurunziza, said.

The show was only  meant for four of the East African Community, but performers have also  come from South Sudan and Burundi presenting themselves as refugees.

Burundi has been in a political crisis since President Nkuruziza declared his intention to seek a third term.

Relations between Burundi and Rwanda, rarely warm, have been on the downswing in recent months.

Rwandan  President also criticized Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term,  and accused him of harboring a Rwandan rebel group.

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