Imagine Burundi on 99.4 FM CCIB in Bujumbura, Burundi.

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    As our big announcement stated, Imagine Burundi ended its new broadcasts in July 2013. But keep checking back in our Archive - we will be posting new clips of our past episodes there.

    And don't forget to check out our colleague's new project, The Burundian Way, a weekly radio program at the same hour on the same channel - 3 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday on 99.4 FM CCIB.


Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Imagine Burundi-ed

Posted by imagineburundi on August 3, 2013

August 3, 2013

We usually begin each show by asking, “Are we on the air?” followed quickly by “Are we still on the air?” The first question reflects the technical challenges of radio broadcasting in Burundi, the second our genuine amazement no one has shut us down.

Well, dear listeners, now we know the answer to those questions – and it’s not as bad as we had feared. After almost three years on the air in Bujumbura, Imagine Burundi is ending its run. We triumph knowing no one did shut us down, so we are doing it ourselves. Starting today, we will keep adding episodes to the Archive on this site but there will be no new Imagine Burundi broadcasts in Bujumbura.

When we started this project, we envisioned a different kind of community growing out of our work. We would be sad to end the show without having achieved some part of that goal, but now we can really see that community taking shape. Students, English learners, young professionals, business owners, journalists, police officers, diplomats, aid workers, expats – we have been incredibly lucky to meet so many great folks, share a laugh or a meal with them, and hear their stories about life in Burundi. You’ve shown us that a new Burundi is rising, and we wish to thank each and every one of you.

Over the years, more and more English Clubs have sprouted up around the capital, while new people tuned in to send us messages, encouragement, questions or just simple greetings. It now has the feel of a genuine movement. More than just English-learning, that momentum captures a new attitude, especially amongst younger Burundians, to look outwardly with an optimism based not on empty words and slogans but on actual experiences. It is those stories of success and change that we have tried to bring to our listeners every week. For the most part, we are happy with the work we have done.

That is why we feel good about this transition. We are confident in the changes taking hold in Burundi. We always believed this show would have a natural lifespan, and once we had effected some change and met our objectives, it would be time to end it – so here we are.

But it doesn’t mean the show won’t live on. In fact, it is a literal transition. We are happy to report the team is staying together to bring you a new show at the same hour on the same station. It has a new name and the format will be different, but the crew is the same. BJC, Amina and Elvis will host a new show called The Burundian Way. The show will include stories about Burundian history from BJC, reflections on jobs from Amina and debates hosted by Elvis. We are all excited to hear the first episode. Today’s live show will have introduced the show to our local listeners and hopefully, new episodes will start airing next Saturday at 3 p.m. in Bujumbura on 99.4 FM CCIB. Our next post here will include descriptions from the Team about their respective segments. We hope you’ll have a listen!

We will also continue posting past episodes to the Archive for our web listeners, so check out the site often. Coming up this week, we have some very special shows in which Imagine Burundi traveled around the region to glimpse what life is like in Burundi’s neighbors, including Amina’s epic trip Rwanda and Elvis’ touristic trip around Burundi.

Once again, thank you all for tuning in and helping make this show happen. We’ve come a long way from the early days of Jeff and Seth huddled over a laptop talking to themselves to a whole crew with a home and a solid listenership. It’s been a real pleasure.

Our warmest wishes to all of you,

Jeff and the Imagine Burundi Team


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Storytelling Contest

Posted by imagineburundi on August 2, 2013

August 2, 2013

Before we get to the announcement, here are some photos from the last contest we hosted on May 25, 2013. Our contestants really showed off their storytelling skills in this round, delivering their stories with humor and , but, even more impressively, it was all original content. And we have our first ever female contest winner. A big congratulations to Floriane Niyungeko! Her story “Fighting for Your Respect” took first place and for that, Floriane won a radio, a grammar book and an Imagine Burundi t-shirt – all essential materials for English-learning. You can read Floriane’s story and other prize-winning entries from previous contests on our new The Contests page. We will also post photos from past contests along with other details there. Thank you to Floriane, all our contestants and the supportive audiences who cheered them on! Excellent job, team!


BJC presents the panel of judges, Amina, Astere and Jean-Baptiste, to the audience.


Cynthia, one of our biggest fans, tells her story. Actually, we might be bigger fans of hers – and the guy holding up the banner.


The winners celebrate. Floriane (right) won first prize and Balthazar took second.


The judges present Floriane with her grand prize for her story “Fighting for Your Respect.”


BJC and Amina give a prize to Thierry Sindihebura, a contestant from Cibitoke English Club.


BJC and Amina give a prize to Aimable Prince Mpawenayo, a student at ETS Kamenge.

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Contest Results Coming Soon

Posted by imagineburundi on November 24, 2012

November 23, 2012

We’ve been quiet here on the site but not in Bujumbura! We just wrapped up our second Imagine Burundi listener contest and we’ll be announcing the results soon. The contest. Candidates were asked to present an idea of an activity that will benefit the community, but which would also the potential to make them money. Let’s see what they came up with – the winners will soon record a show with us to share their excellent ideas. Stay tuned!


Listeners hold up their new Imagine Burundi t-shirts: “How Radio Should Look.”


Amina and Elvis review a new restaurant in town.

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Coffee And The Things We Love To Eat

Posted by imagineburundi on August 7, 2012

August 6, 2012

We have a new episode up in the Archive. Recall that about six months ago, we interviewed the coffee buyer and consultant, Ben Carlson. Ben was about to launch an independent initiative to increase the profile of Burundian coffee around the world. You can hear that interview in Episode 24 in the Archive. At the time, Ben was just arriving and bubbling with enthusiasm for his project and its possible outcomes. Well, flash forward six months now. Ben is a grizzled veteran of many attempts, delays and, yes, battles to get his project going. Listen in to our fourth installment in the Coffee series as Ben describes his first six months of trying to set up a small business in Burundi.

And now is a good time to introduce our revamped Restaurants page. We are making this into a destination for people living in or just curious about Bujumbura. People are always wondering about places to eat out at. Well, for the first time ever, residents can now access the Restaurants page to see photos of places we have visited, listen to our reviews and, best of all, see a detailed map of each restaurant’s location – all in one location! We will be updating this map regularly, so check back in to hear more about Bujumbura’s many dining options. Muryoherwe, tout le monde!

Here’s a sample view of the map. Go to the Restaurants page for the link to the full version.

Map of restaurants in Bujumbura

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Burundi-in-New York: Meeting Jocelyne Sambira!

Posted by imagineburundi on July 26, 2012

July 25, 2012

In Episode 9 in the Archive, we “met” Jocelyne Sambira, a Burundian journalist who was working at U.N. Radio in New York at the time. Why did we put “met” in quotations? Because even though we interviewed Jocelyne and had a very engaging conversation about her life in New York, we never actually met her in person. Jeff conducted their interview over the internet from Burundi while Jocelyne was in New York so they were never in the same place! Well, now that Jeff is living in New York, he was finally able to meet Jocelyne, and they had a wonderful time talking about the Burundi that each of them saw. Here they are, over cups of Rwandan coffee (sorry, they didn’t have Burundian coffee!).

Jeff and Jocelyne Sambira in New York

Jocelyne is still working for the United Nations, and she and her colleagues are putting out a magazine called “Africa Renewal,” which looks at some of the positive socio-economic developments happening in African countries. Have a look!

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“Ciza’s Story”

Posted by imagineburundi on July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

Surviving, enduring, accepting – these actions take a degree of bravery but we often romanticize our instinct to simply carry on as something more noble. It can take tremendous courage to do the opposite, to accept change and to throw yourself head-first into a whole new situation. As our previous guest, the police officer Steven Sadate, explained, change will only occur when people are ready to embrace that change. This week in the Archive, we bring you an incredible story of accepting even leaping into change. Our good friend Ciza left Imagine Burundi when the opportunity to pursue his dream arrived out of nowhere. Listen in to hear how he handled that news and what he did to prepare for the massive changes in his life.

And another reason to listen to this episode? Seth thinks it’s one of our very best efforts! It’s hard to win praise from that guy – so you know this will be a good one.

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“Police Relations” in the Archive

Posted by imagineburundi on July 10, 2012

July 9, 2012

This week, we touch on a topic that many people have a hard time talking about (without some bitterness) – police officers and their work. We were very lucky to have two police officers (one coming all the way from Tasmania, Australia!) to help us look comparatively at how police work is conducted in Burundi and elsewhere. Have a listen in the Archive!

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The Mean Streets of Bujumbura

Posted by imagineburundi on June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012

We’ve got a new episode in the Archive – a topic that is always on our minds: driving in Burundi. Mostly, we mean Seth and Jeff who complain a lot about how motorists, police officers and pedestrians all collude to create some of the most chaotic situations in Burundi. But beside just feeling frustrated on an individual level (and providing snarky commentary), we recognize how people mistreat each other casually in the streets can illustrate how other kinds of relations can break down and lead to negative consequences. In other words, the environment can shape perceptions.

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Moving Forward

Posted by imagineburundi on June 18, 2012

June 19, 2012

Moving forward. We’re doing this in a lot of ways. First, we’ve marked the end of our grant period for the Wall Award from Grinnell College. We would like to express our thanks again to Grinnell for helping turn Imagine Burundi into something much larger and more thoughtful than what we had envisioned when we started out. In the Archive, we have started uploading shows from the time that the Wall Award funded our activities and, hopefully, you can hear how the show progresses and evolves in terms of our content, our style and our production. This week’s update continues our Coffee Series with an interview from Chicago(!) where we were able to speak to Sarah Kluth, a coffee buyer for Intelligentsia Coffee, one of a growing number of companies sourcing coffee from Burundi. Listen in if you want to hear about coffee farming in Burundi, how coffee buyers operate or simply to learn how coffee reaches your breakfast table in the morning.

And as we do mark the end of the grant from Grinnell, it’s a fair question to ask how the show will keep going. Recently, Jeff traveled to Hong Kong (where he was able to meet up with our old friend Ciza) and he was able to reach out to many individuals about Imagine Burundi and what we are trying to accomplish. The response was overwhelming, both in terms of encouragement and financial support, so we are very happy to announce then that we will be able to continue the show through 2012 and possibly beyond with that support. We’d like to recognize the kind individuals who have given to Imagine Burundi so, in no particular order, we wish to warmly thank Mary Anne Choo, Jonathan Mok, Shirley Tse, Irene Chu, Chris Mikosh, Caroline Yeh and other generous supporters. Thank you for making this show possible for listeners everywhere!

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“Coffee In Burundi” in The Archive

Posted by imagineburundi on April 14, 2012

April 14, 2012

We finally posted new clips in the Archive. It’s Part One of our “Coffee In Burundi” series, which Seth continues to argue (in his head) that it should win awards. The topic is a fascinating gateway to understanding some challenges associated with businesses and economic development in Burundi, as well as being highly informative about coffee in general. Along the way, we also meet quite a few interesting characters. In Part One, that distinction belongs to Ben Carlson, a professional coffee buyer and consultant who is throwing himself into the turbulent world of coffee buying in Burundi. Check it out in the Archive. The Restaurant Review for that show is also very entertaining and, surprisingly, informative.

The next Archive update will be posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. Then we’ll resume the weekly Monday updates.

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