Burundi: Gishora Drum Sanctuary

A dozen kilometers uphill from Gitega lies the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Gishora Drum Sanctuary. The site was established by the last king of Burundi, King Mwami Mwezi IV Gisabo Bikata-Bijoga, as the memorial for his military victories and also to preserve the ancient drumming tradition and artifacts. Several traditional houses hold ancient drums and other relics as well as traditional cultural items deceiving the way of life. Gishora Drum Sanctuary has also been a place to practice and teach specific ritual drumming techniques. Different houses show places like king’s kitchen (where you can try milling sorghum) and king’s bedroom. The king had many wives and when he wanted to have sex, he would place beads in front of a chosen wife (beads are still here on display). Interestingly, several musicians and drummers had to play and cheer, encourage, and glorify the king while the latter was having sex.