Beating Drums or Beating Women? An Analysis of the Drum Universe in Burundi

  • Audace Mbonyingingo English Department, University of Burundi
  • Ntiranyibagira Constantin Kirundi-Kiswahili Department, University of Burundi
Keywords: Burundi, drum beating, marginalisation, presidential decree, women

Abstract

This essay analysed the legal restrictions imposed on women by the 2017 Burundian Decree No. 100/196, regulating the operation of drums at the national and international levels. It argues that despite the fact that ancient Burundi drums were more than mere musical instruments, they were also sacred objects for the purpose of ceremonial use and were only used in exceptional circumstances and according to specific rituals. However, before the promulgation of the decree, drum beating was more a business-related performance where even some women were participants. This essay posits that drum beating basically represented all the major happenings of the country: enthronements, funerals of rulers or celebrating the cycle of seasons. It is also assumed that the politicization of an erstwhile cultural performance fosters the discrimination of an already marginalised layer of the society; women. One of the most surprising features, however, is that the different parts of the drum are named after parts of the body of the woman. Therefore the questions the researchers attempt to answer are the following: What are the consequences of motivations behind the decree to forbid women from beating drums? How is beating the drum synonymous to beating women? What are the social implications of this decree in this era of women’s emancipation in Burundi?

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Published
2020-02-15
How to Cite
Mbonyingingo, A., & Constantin, N. (2020). Beating Drums or Beating Women? An Analysis of the Drum Universe in Burundi. Journal of Postcolonial Writing and World Literatures, 1(1), 15-30. Retrieved from https://royalliteglobal.com/world-literatures/article/view/50
Section
Articles