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Located inside the Great Lakes region of Central and East Africa, the Republic of Burundi is a small landlocked country suffering from civil wars and genocides since it became independent in 1962.
The capital of Burundi consists of two cities, the economic capital, Bujumbura, and the political capital, Gitega. The country originally had two official languages, Kirundi and French, but English was added as the third official language in 2014.
Burundi shares its borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, Tanzania in the south and east, and Rwanda in the north. The capital city of Burundi, Bujumbura, is situated on the shores of the famous Lake Tanganyika. Zambia, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo also border Lake Tanganyika, the most renowned of the African Great Lakes. Burundi is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. At the same time, it is very poorly developed and a large part of the population suffers from severe malnutrition. Ethnic conflict and civil wars have led to regional instability in Burundi.
If you find this article about Burundi facts interesting, you should also read interesting facts about Bhutan and interesting facts about Chad here at Kidadl.
The country's motto is 'Ubumwe, Ibikorwa, Iterambere' which in Kirundi means 'Unity, Work, Progress.' It is ironic that unity and progress have eluded the country since independence.
The flag of Burundi consists of red and green colors that are symbolic of the hope for future development and the struggle for independence, respectively. The central white circle and the white diagonal cross are representatives of peace. The three red stars in the center represent the main three ethnic groups of the nation, namely the Hutu, Twa, and Tutsi tribe.
Cattle are an important cultural symbol in Burundi and are associated with the social status of a person. They consider the horns of a cow sacred. ‘Amashyo’ is a traditional Kirundi greeting that can be translated to ‘May you have a herd of cattle.’ When a cow dies, the people consume its meat and plant the horns near the house under the soil. This is believed to bring good luck to them.
The country has been home to the Hutu, Twa, and Tutsi tribes for a minimum of five hundred years. The indigenous Twa tribe, the original settlers, only occupy 1% of the largely poor population, while the Hutus and Tutsi take up 85% and 13%, respectively.
Like in other African nations, Burundians enjoy their traditional alcoholic drinks. The local banana beer is kept in one central pot, and people sit around the pot in a circular way, drinking with a straw. You might see more than a dozen people at a time sipping the traditional beer with their straws. In the modern setup, the habit has shifted to the bars, where people can be seen using straws.
For the third time in a row, Burundi was ranked the hungriest nation in the world in 2014 by the Global Hunger Index.
About 90% of the population in the country is engaged in the agricultural industry. It is the main source of income for Burundi. High illiteracy levels, weak infrastructure, and lack of capital have ensured that agriculture remains the main source of livelihood for Burundians.
Corn and cereals are the staple foods of the nation. More than 80% of Hutu people occupy the nation, and they do not keep livestock as part of their culture. These people depend on plant-based foods, meaning less protein in their diets.
Fat intake and protein intake are almost nil for a major part of Burundi’s population. This has led to the rise of kwashiorkor, a disease also known as severe acute malnutrition.
Burundi holds the distinction of being the poorest country in Olympic history ever to have won an Olympic gold medal. This took place in 1996, when Vénuste Niyongabo secured the first position in the 16404.2 ft (5000 m) race. He was originally supposed to participate in the 4921.3 ft (1500 m) race but gave the spot to Dieudonne Kwizera, another fellow Burundian. The nation has not been able to win any medals, let alone a gold medal, ever since.
Burundi is the world’s poorest country when its GDP is measured per capita based on PPP (purchasing power parity). President Pierre Nkurunziza has made jogging an illegal activity since 2014. He said that people could use it as a cover for planning anti-government rebellions.
The gigantic man-eating crocodile Gustave is said to reside in Burundi. Locals say that it lives on the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika and the Ruzizi River and has killed more than 300 people since 1987. The present status of the crocodile is unknown, but reports surface time and again about the reappearance of the animal.
There is extreme poverty, unemployment, and overpopulation in Burundi. Only 3% of the population has poor access to the internet, making it one of the few countries in the world to have limited internet access. 80% of people live in a rural setting, while cybercafes are present only in towns and cities.
It is the third most densely populated country in Africa, only after Mauritius and Rwanda. Soil erosion, deforestation, and overgrazing have led to a further decline in the population of the country.
Burundi was colonized by Germany in 1890, and after the First World War, it was occupied by Belgium till 1962. The nation became free from any foreign power and Burundi won independence that year.
Ever since the country gained independence, tension has arisen between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority. Louis Rwagasore, the first prime minister of Burundi, was killed just a few weeks after he was elected in 1961. Two mass genocides have occurred. 100,000 Hutus were killed by government troops in 1972, and another 300,000 people lost their lives after the president was assassinated in 1993. A 12-year-long civil war lasted from 1993-2005.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for interesting facts about Burundi then why not take a look at interesting facts about Kuwait, or interesting facts about Bulgaria?
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