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Burundi: The Biography of a Small African Country
     

Burundi: The Biography of a Small African Country

by Nigel Watt, Michael J. Dwyer (Other)
 

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Burundi is Rwanda's twin, a small country in Central Africa with a complex history of ethnic tension between its Hutu and Tutsi populations and a deep familiarity with traumatic events, including the mass killing of over 200,000 people. Burundi was trapped in a state of civil war until 2004, after which Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela mediated a lengthy and

Overview

Burundi is Rwanda's twin, a small country in Central Africa with a complex history of ethnic tension between its Hutu and Tutsi populations and a deep familiarity with traumatic events, including the mass killing of over 200,000 people. Burundi was trapped in a state of civil war until 2004, after which Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela mediated a lengthy and eventually successful movement toward peace. Burundi's contemporary era has brought new institutions to the country, including a more open constitution, which led to the election of a majority Hutu government in 2005. Still, apart from ethnic tensions, many problems persist, particularly the entrenched poverty of most Burundians, which has led NGOs to call Burundi one of the most deprived countries on earth.

Nigel Watt traces the origins of Burundi's political crises and illuminates recent historical events through interviews with leading political figures and survivors of atrocity. A unique and rare portrait, Watt's "biography" demystifies Burundi's little-understood "ethnic" divisions and provides a thorough understanding of this beautiful and cultured land, which has produced a remarkable line of peacemakers, journalists, teachers, and political and religious leaders.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A very accessible, empathic, and yet accurate book. Nigel Watt puts people and their experiences and emotions at the middle of his story."—Filip Reyntjens, University of Antwerp

"A book about reality, an item in very short supply when people write about African conflicts....Hope based on nice feelings is a non-starter in the nasty world of Africa's small wars. Nigel Watt provides the only picture of hope which can be realistically contemplated, that which bases itself on informed and uncompromising local knowledge. This is a book which should be read by all humanitarian workers and members of the international community involved in what are today coyly called 'complex emergencies."—Gérard Prunier, author of frica's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe

"Topical and action-oriented, can be read as an almost complete introduction for the newcomer to the subject."—Race and Class

"Watt's political overview is remarkable for its attention to detail and balanced assessment EL From peacemakers at Kibimba to media reformers at Radio Ijambo, to human rights mobilizers at Iteka, Watts seems to know all the key players and has accurately described the mission and effect of each. With deft descriptions and telling quotations from his interviews, he captures the character and voice of these long-suffering people.' African Studies Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231700900
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
10/22/2008
Series:
Columbia/Hurst Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Filip Reyntjens

A very accessible, empathic, and yet accurate book. Nigel Watt puts people and their experiences and emotions at the middle of his story.

Meet the Author

From 1998 to 2002, Nigel Watt worked in Burundi for Christian Aid and for CARE International, growing to love the country and dedicating himself to understanding its complexities. He was awarded an MBE (The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for "services to national reconciliation." He has been involved with Africa for most of his life, first as a teacher and head of a secondary school in postindependence Zambia, supporting the development of youth voluntary service in a number of African countries, and then serving as director of the Africa Centre in London.

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