GITEGA September 3rd (ABP) – Three trophies were awarded to three valiant Burundian patriots, respectively King Mwezi Gisabo for his bravery in defending Burundi against the invaders; Prince Louis Rwagasore, hero of Burundi’s independence who stood out for national sovereignty and the President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza for his merit in civic and patriotic education and for having foiled the 2015 coup. The ceremonies were held at the Ingoma stadium in Gitega (center) on Saturday at the closing of the “Igihugu” Festival held from August 28 to August 30th. They were marked by a pilgrimage of patriotic memory in several provinces of the country, under the theme “Uburundi mu maraso yanje” (Burundi in my blood).
The ceremonies were chaired by the Minister of the Interior, Patriotic Education and Local Development, Mr. Pascal Barandagiye who received the trophy of the President of the Republic of Burundi. He was accompanied by the Minister of National Defense and Veterans Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye who received the trophies of King Mwezi Gisabo and Prince Louis Rwagasore as the leader of the National Defense Forces, said the spokesman of the Ministry of Public Security and Disaster Management, OPP1 Pierre Nkurikiye and chairman of the organizing committee of the festival.
One of the youth delegates (Two young people per province of the country) who visited the historic sites during the three-day pilgrimage of patriotic memory, testified on the cultural wealth that abound those sites located in the provinces like Bujumbura City Council, Bujumbura, Mwaro, Muramvya, Gitega, Karusi, Ngozi and Kirundo. In the Bujumbura City Council, he notably cited the monument of President Melchior Ndadaye and his collaborators which was also the palace of Kings Mwambutsa Bangiricenge and Charles Ndizeye and the mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore.
The route continued in Kivumu village of Bujumbura province to the site of the Mwezi Gisabo Royal Palace, where the surrounding people testified that they still retain King Mwezi Gisabo’s spear and bracelet. The pilgrims also visited the site “ku gasumo ka Mwaro”, the sites of the “Shinge and Rugero” villages in Kirundo, the site called ku Masanganiro of Ngozi. They also visited the Gitega National Museum, the Kiganda Historic Site, the Gishora Drum Shrine site in Gitega, and so on.
The youth delegate was thus satisfied with a lot of cultural knowledge acquired during the pilgrimage. He said he was impressed by the patriotic spirit that characterized King Mwezi Gisabo in his fight against the invaders. He was also motivated by the bravery of the Burundians who fought for keeping the borders of Burundi which was likely to be conquered by foreigners at Shinge and Rugero. They were also impressed by the courage and dynamism of Burundians who hid King Mwezi Gisabo when he was pursued by enemies of the country, namely at Gishora (Gitega) and Kiganda in province Muramvya.
In turn, OPP1 Nkurikiye expressed satisfaction at having organized that “Igihugu” Festival. The main objective was to awaken the consciousness of Burundians in general and young people in particular on the valorization of patriotic love. He made recommendations, including the enhancement of historic sites in Burundi, the collection of objects that have marked the history of Burundi and even those which are abroad.
In his speech, the Minister of the Interior, Patriotic Education and Local Development, Mr. Pascal Barandagiye who was the envoy of the Burundi Head of State, congratulated the initiators of the Festival. He asked them to organize other “Igihugu” Festivals with a larger youth participation. He promised government support for subsequent editions. He took the opportunity to appeal to the youth that visited the historic sites to share with others the knowledge gained. Because, he stressed, no one can claim to be independent without knowing the history of their country. The minister in charge of the Interior also indicated that he took note of the recommendations made during the festival, adding that he will transmit them to the government. He reiterated the relevance of valuing the history of Burundi, the revaluation of historic sites and the repatriation of historical heritage located abroad.