The Nyege Nyege music festival that ends on Monday in neighboring Uganda has drawn the ire of Burundi’s ministry of culture for what it calls the “misuse of Burundian sacred drum.”
Along with widely circulated images of two male performers dancing suggestively with female revelers close to the revered drum, the ministry issued its message on Twitter.
They referred to the photograph as a “exploitation” of Burundi’s royal drumming tradition, which Unesco recognized in 2017.
The post stated that violators of Burundian culture and customs would not be tolerated and that they would face legal consequences.
According to Unesco, ritual drumming in Burundi is carried out during national or local feasts and to welcome significant visitors. It is believed to awaken ancestor spirits and drive out evil spirits.
Its performers are chosen from all throughout the nation, many of them are descended from the guards of the drum sanctuary.
It is unclear at this time whether the Burundian authorities would bring legal action against the festival’s drum players.
However, this is not the first time that Burundian officials have sent similar advisories to drummers performing abroad.
Additionally, this is not the first time controversy has surrounded the Nyege Nyege festival.
The four-day festival was threatened with a ban by Ugandan authorities before to its start because they believed it to be a “breeding ground for sexual immorality” and “homosexuality.”
According to the AFP news agency, 12,000 people, including 5,000 foreign visitors, attended the event, which was hosted near the picturesque Itanda Falls on the banks of the River Nile.