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Gishora Drum Sanctuary


Gishora drummers Burundi

Gishora is one of the famous drum sites of Burundi. Gishora is perched on the top of a hill at 7km from the urban centre of Gitega and at 200m of Gitega-Ngozi route.
It was founded by King Mwezi Gisabo after his victory over the rebellious chief Ntibirangwa. This site was and always remains run by a local community called ‘Abatimbo’ descending from the ancient lineage of ‘Abanyigisaka’.

These specialised families were ritualists and enjoyed huge privileges from the royal court. In Burundi, the drums were the pillar of the political power of the monarchy. They were made and beaten on special occasions by specialised families called ‘Abatimbo’ in important places, announcing great events of the country like the royal enthronement, the sowing festival, the funerals of the kings and gave the rhythm of regular seasons.

The site of Gishora also houses two ritual drums that were never beaten: Ruciteme (the one for whom we clear the forest) and Murimirwa (the one for whom we cultivate). The two names are intimately linked to the farming vocation and refer clearly to the fertility, characteristic of the king. We have also ordinary drums ‘Ingendanyi’ (retinue), which the Batimbo could beat on special occasions of the country.

Visit the drum sanctuary of Gishora to relive the cultural tradition of Burundi which is becoming scarcer. The site recreates an architectural complex of Royal palace, rarely found elsewhere in the country.

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