18 April 2017

Burundi: Monument to Be Erected in Memory of Famous Drummer

"Burundi lost a cultural hero, a man of great value. Following his outstanding achievements in the promotion of the country's culture, notably the drum culture, the government plans to erect a monument in his memory", said Jean Bosco Hitimana, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport. He said this on 17 April at the funeral of Antime Baranshakaje, the guardian of the sacred drum at Gishora sanctuary in Gitega Province. The Minister says Baranshakaje spent his entire life protecting the sacred drum with bravery and wisdom.

Zacharie Nizigiyimana, a member of the family, says the late Antime Baranshakaje had many projects to promote the sacred drum and the Burundian culture. "We lost an intelligent man who knew the country's history. We will do our best to guard the sanctuary to achieve his dream", says Nizigiyimana. Gishora drummers called on the government to support them in order to achieve Antime's projects.

On 17 April, his family, relatives, some officials and drummers escorted the hearse of the icon of the sacred drum from Roi Khaled hospital in the capital Bujumbura to Gishora sacred drum's sanctuary in Gitega central province. The requiem mass was celebrated at Gishora Parish in Gitega province. "Antime Baranshakaje respected the Burundian culture and promoted the sacred drum. It is very important to pursue his projects", said Bishop Bonaventure Nahimana who celebrated mass.

Antime Baranshakaje, 82, the guardian of the sacred drums of Burundi, died in the night of 9 April at Kamenge University Hospital -CHUK, in the capital Bujumbura.

He was suffering from a badly fractured thigh after a motorcycle accident. He broke his leg in a motorbike accident six months ago.

On 26 November 2015, UNESCO declared Burundi royal drum dance as Intangible Cultural Heritage thanks to his efforts to promote the Burundi drum.

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