“Rumuri” Literary Award for promotion of writing in Burundi

The University of Burundi recognises that writing is a good way to preserve and share culture and tradition. A national inter-university literary competition was organised and the winners of the second edition of “Rumuri Literary Award” were announced publicly.

“Rumuri” Literary Award for promotion of writing in Burundi

“Rumuri” Literary Award for promotion of writing in Burundi

Writing is one of the ways of sharing and transferring culture and values of a country and literature evolves around young people. Gélase Nimbona, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, says literature gives a good opportunity to express ideas, identity and depict daily life experience. “We believe in young people’s ability to transmit values of the country. We want to transmit positive values and promote writing via this competition”, he says.

Mr Nimbona says the initiator of Rumuri literary competition was a student and encourages young people to follow in his footsteps.

Juvénal Ngorwanubusa, Lecturer at the University and president of the jury that selected the winners recognises the progress of the literature in Burundi. “Some people used to say that Burundians do not write. This competition has just challenged their assumption. Young people are currently interested in literature”, he says.

The competition was organised in French and English versions. Among 36 and 33 short stories received in French and English languages respectively, the first five stories in each section were awarded.

Clarisse Kaneza, the first winner of the English version, says she is very excited to win such an award as a young woman. “I never thought I could be the winner. I wrote my story as a hobby. I didn’t know I was skilled enough to write a successful short story. I never thought a woman could win a competition organised for both men and women. I am really thrilled!” she says

Her short story-“I love my wife” is a story of a husband who is unfaithful to his wife and who tries to explain to the narrator the reason behind his infidelity.

For Inès Ornella Ngabire, the first winner of the French version award, this is just a surprise and a starting point to a journey towards a great female writer as she had just discovered her talent. “I cannot believe I am the winner today. I wrote my short story with mixed feelings. This shows me that women are able and can win even a competition among men” she says.

Her short story entitled “N’oublie Jamais Ta promesse” meaning “Never forget your vow” is a story about a young lady who promised her mom on her deathbed to keep the family enterprise. By writing the story, Ngabire wanted to give the message to the young people so that they pursue their dreams and keep promises despite the challenge they face.

Gélase Nimbona says the fact that both first winners are women is the proof that culture has evolved and women are interested in literature. He says they were not favoured because they were women. “They deserved the place they got,” he says.

“Rumuri” literary Award is an inter-university national competition which has started in 2014 in order to promote writing in academic area. This is the second edition of the competition and its organiser appeals to all students to take part in it.