Evelyne NIJIMBERE, The Skilful Burundian Poetess in Reciting Poetry in Kirundi for Newlyweds!

Her name is Evelyne NIJIMBERE. She is one of the few Burundian poetesses whose verse is in Kirundi. Attracted by the sweetness of Kirundi (her mother tongue) and the richness in alliteration, assonance, metaphor and other stylistic figures of traditional poetry, Evelyne NIJIMBERE did not even ask herself the question twice. She chose to write her poetry in Kirundi and to dedicate it to newlyweds.

Today, Evelyne NIJIMBERE is married. As she wanted to bring up to date the flavor of beautiful verses from our ancestors, she entertains weddings with her recitations in Kirundi. For the occasion, she puts on traditional ceremonial clothes, puts jewels, necklaces and headbands called “ibitāko” and a stick in her hands to please the newlyweds.

As Evelyne NIJIMBERE declaims to exalt the newlyweds and make them exult with joy on their wedding day, she compares her poetry to “amazina y’ubuhizi” (epic poetry, which a Burundian warrior once used to praise his family, his exploits on the field of battle or to express and address one’s praises to the king or prince)

Why focus on verses in Kirundi?

When Evelyne NIJIMBERE was 15 years old, the Burundian traditional song (uruvyino) has fascinated her. Traditional poetry does not take long to ecstasy her and each time. She wanted to understand each Kirundi word, what seems difficult to her.

On December 29, 2017, she declaimed her verses for the first time in the wedding ceremonies of Pacifique RUBERINTWARI and Mélyse MAHORO (her friend). It was just two months after trying to compose some verses in Kirundi for the newlyweds. After the highly acclaimed first declamation, Evelyne wants to make this poetry addressed and be part of her life.

The young poetess NIJIMBERE pleases newlyweds in Bujumbura as well as in the the countryside. “After my recitation in the countryside, different people congratulate and encourage me, especially the old people who see me declaiming while wearing traditional clothes (urubega)”, she rejoices.

Before she writes her verses, NIJIMBERE meets with the couple to whom she is going to dedicate them. She explains the reasons: “I cannot compose the same texts for all the couples when they are different. For example, I cannot say that such a wife has a diastema without being sure that she has one”.

A very promising art

Writing verses for a couple has become a habit, which seems easy to her today. She estimates that she has been declaiming in about five hundred weddings with her verses since 2017. “It may happen that I declaim at four parties for a single day,” she metions.

Apart from the fact that the poetry she does benefits her and helps her support herself without forgetting that she helps her family, Evelyne confides that it is her passion. Thanks to this poetry, she was able to buy a cow which today has a heifer. She explains to us why she thought of buying a cow: “I really love cows because I grew up seeing them at home”.

Evelyne defends herself and retorts to certain men who are surprised to see her reciting traditional poetry. “Poetry is not recited by someone who is able to”, she says.

Evelyne NIJIMBERE invested in the art of pleasing people to such an extent that she declaims in all joyful celebrations such as birthdays, jubilees, ceremonies of of taking the oath…

Apart from poetry, she is fond of traditional songs (imvyino). Actually, she sings at wedding parties (lifting of veil: gutwikurura). She teaches this to anyone who wants it. She is a member of the Intahemuka cultural club of Mutanga Sud which entertains the crowds in various festivals.

You can contact Evelyne on +257 71 86 25 57 if you want her to entertain your various parties with her verses in Kirundi.