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Burundi bans women from playing traditional drums

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Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, has introduced strict controls over the country’s renowned drumming rituals, banning female drummers and limiting the sacred tradition to official events.

“It is strictly forbidden to those of the female sex to beat drums. They can however carry out female folk dances accompanying the drums,”  that was signed late last month.

All groups seeking to perform “cultural shows” must from now on register with the ministry of culture and are not allowed to perform outside of official ceremonies without authorisation from the ministry.

Burundi’s ritual dance of the royal drums was in 2014 placed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, which describes it as “a spectacle combining powerful, synchronised drumming with dancing, heroic poetry and traditional songs.”

It says the “entire population of Burundi recognises it as a fundamental part of its heritage and identity.”

Today, the drums are played for entertainment: but for centuries they were a sacred rite, symbolic of a united kingdom – a powerful memory for a country whose recent history has been scarred by civil war and political crisis.

In the country’s Kirundi language, the word for drum — “ingoma” — is the same as that for kingdom.

In modern times drumming groups have flourished, performing at weddings, graduation ceremonies and baptisms.

While traditionally a male-dominated field, several female drumming groups have emerged in recent years.

The presidential decree, signed on October 20, said that if an organiser gets permission to have drummers perform at an event, he must pay the Treasury a fee equivalent to 245 euros ($280).

This figure is to be paid daily if the group performs abroad.

Burundians on Twitter slammed the decree as an “authoritarian slide” and a “sign of increasing efforts to control Burundian society”.

“This decree means the drums no longer belong to Burundian citizens but to the government”, said Pacifique Nininahazwe, an exiled civil society leader.

Last month Burundi’s government adopted a plan to revise the constitution that, if voted in by referendum, would allow Nkurunziza to serve another two seven-year terms from 2020.

The country was plunged into crisis when Nkurunziza sought — and went on to win — a third term in 2015. Between 500 and 2,000 people are estimated to have died in the ensuing turmoil, according to varying tolls.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Salah withdraws from Egypt Squad

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Egypt Football Federation has leave out Mohammed Salah on the upcoming AFCON qualifiers match with Kenya due to injury worries.

Egypt were grouped with kenya, Togo, Comoros in Group G, football fans has tipped Egypt to top the group due to their attacking threat.

The Egyptian talisman has now been ruled out of the upcoming AFCON qualifiers after due assessment by Egypt’s medical team.

The physios believe the Liverpool star’s injury, which was sustained from a challenge by Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury earlier last month, has been aggravated during the clash against Manchester City and needed time to heal.

The Egyptian frontman will miss the two matches scheduled this week.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Groups criticise Kenya’s census figures

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Groups has criticised the released Kenya’s population census figures stating that the results are not accurate.

It found that the total population of the country is now 47.6 million, nine million more than in 2009.

But some regions have experienced a decrease in population.

These outcomes can be hugely controversial because the size of the local population has important implications for the level of government funding they receive.

Kenya’s population is made up of many different ethnic groups, closely aligned to competing political parties.

The government has yet to release all the data on the ethnic composition of the country, but the changes in population in certain regions from this latest census have already caused arguments.

The outcome of such surveys can embolden or weaken claims made by groups for political representation or resources.

In one area of the north-east territories bordering Ethiopia and Somalia, the census indicates a decrease in the population, prompting local political leaders looking to retain funding for their provinces to question the veracity of the survey

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