EAGT organisers clear air on the Himbaza club saga

Himbaza Club from Rwanda at the EAGT competition. / Courtesy

The great and diverse talent Himbaza Club brought to the stage as they auditioned made up, according to judge Makeda “a lovely performance showing East Africa’s ancient talents the ones that we have had for a long time”.

This, however, did not deter some viewers of the shows from questioning why Burundian traditional drums were allowed on stage, that the matter that soon caught social media’s attention. 


Burundi is not eligible to participate in the show.


Just after their grand performance, the Burundian Ministry of Sports and Culture that was represented by Pelate Niyonkuru said that the practice was illegal and should be referred to as breaking the drums’ cultural law.


In her speech last week, she demonstrated that the “The Himbaza drummers” are Rwandans who illegally intend to use Burundian drums, saying, “There is a group of people in Rwanda who want to illegally use and locally brand the Burundian drums”.

She also expressed displeasure about the talented drummers’ group highlighting that “Traditional drums should not be used illegally, and on top of that they were used in a less traditional norm”, adding that “the traditional drums incidence comes to compliment the already existing conflicts.”

Despite the continued protest from the Burundian side, EAGT organizers chaired by Lee Ndayisaba cleared the air dispelling fears from their audience that there was nothing illegal that these young talented drummers had done.

In their public notice, they, EAGT organizers, said there was no genuine reason to stop the Burundian refugees from playing the country’s traditional drum on the show.

“Entry to the show was open to anyone who had the legal right of residence in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania irrespective of their nationality. Contestants apply as individuals and we can confirm that no action was entered by the government as an official representative of a nation.”

Pointing out that, “We deeply regret if any offense has been taken by the inclusion of drummers but wish to state that EAGT a wide diversity of talent and takes special pride in showcasing the cultural heritage of the region,” read part of the statement.

About Himbaza Club

Made up of eight male members from Rwanda and Burundi, Himbaza Club made it through their first round, on the third episode of the show, where it was able to garner unanimous approval from the judges.
“We met in 2015. Our biggest dream is to promote the beautiful culture from Africa, you cannot play drum when you are not happy,” said one of the members who represented the group said during the show.


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