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.


Episodes 21-40

New episodes are posted weekly on Mondays in the Archive. Most recent episodes appear on top and proceed in descending order.
For earlier shows, go to the page Episodes 1-20.

Episode 40 – “Amina in Kigali Pt. 1”

This epic two-episode story started with Jeff asking a simple question: “Who hasn’t been to Rwanda?” Our friend Ciza then introduced us to Amina. Ciza assured us she hasn’t been there before, but it turns out she has. In fact, she was born there. The thing is she left when she was still a baby so she has no recollection of her family’s life there. And ever since growing up in Burundi, she hasn’t lef the country since. So this episode, the first of a two-part series, documents Amina’s eye-opening first trip outside Burundi – to the place where she was born.

Restaurant Review – Jeff brings two guests, Ben Radly and Charlotte MacDiarmid, to the Belgian-favorite, Chez Michel II.

Originally aired on October 15, 2011.


1. Episode 40 “Amina in Kigali – Part One” Clip1

2. Episode 40 “Amina in Kigali – Part One” Clip2

3. Restaurant Review: Chez Michel

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 39 Live – “What is Poverty?”

Poverty. It’s the most frequent association many make with Burundi. “One of the poorest countries in the world” – you can’t hear “Burundi” without hearing that phrase. But what does that mean exactly? And what is the effect on Burundians who have to deal with that classification on a daily basis. The team sits down to talk about this delicate issue.

This segment also features probably our most successful call-in ever, meaning we actually had a decent conversation with a listener!

Then on the second part of the show, we preview the following weeks’ episodes in which we travel Kigali to bring you a special segment with Amina Nshimirimana and her serendipitous story. (Three clips: 22, 10 and 22 minutes)

Originally aired on October 8, 2011.


1. Episode 39 (Live recording) “What is Poverty?” Clip1

2. Episode 39 (Live recording) “What is Poverty?” Clip2

3. Episode 39 (Live recording) “What is Poverty?” Clip3

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 38 – “Tourism Series, Pt. 1”

Burundi’s government has been promoting Tourism as a new avenue for economic growth and it commissioned its first tourism video to highlight its main attractions and advantages. Chris, Jeff and Seth watch the video together and comment on its content, craft and effectiveness.

To view the video for yourself, click here.

Job Advice – We continue with Chris’ “Seven Rules to Start Your Own Business”. This week, we talk about a topic that is very relevant to tourism. We explain why “The Customer Is King”.

Restaurant Review – To thank Chris for taking the lead on the tourism theme, we asked him what his favorite restaurant is – the one place where he would take any tourist. This week, Chris takes Jeff and Seth to Le Maquis.

Originally aired on October 1, 2011.


1. Episode 38 “Tourism, Pt. 1”

2. Job Advice: Chris’ Seven Rules – The Customer Is King (or Queen)

3. Restaurant Review: Le Maquis

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 37 – “Returning to Burundi”

Brandon Thiessen worked in Burundi for over three years. In Burundi, he carried out a conservation project to plant trees and he practiced photography. But along the way, Brandon found a different passion – something we have become very familiar with on this show – coffee. So now Brandon works in Switzerland, not for the U.N. or another development giant, but for an international coffee buying company. And when that company saw that Brandon had lived in Burundi, they figured he might know something about its coffee industry, so they sent him right back there for the Cup of Excellence competition. Jeff interviewed Brandon and found it so interesting, he asked Seth to listen, too. Together, they reflect and comment on Brandon’s contrasting experiences. (Three clips: 22, 13 and 9 minutes)

Job Advice – Chris continues his “Seven Rules to Start Your Own Business” with the rule “It’s Not About The Money.” And to elaborate on the point, Jeff interviews Doug Cutchins, Director of Social Commitment at Grinnell College. (14 minutes)

Originally aired on September 24, 2011.


1. Episode 37 “Returning To Burundi” Clip 1

2. Episode 37 “Returning To Burundi” Clip 2

3. Episode 37 “Returning To Burundi” Clip 3

4. Job Advice: Chris’ Seven Rules, Pt. 5 – It’s Not About The Money

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 36 Live – “Cultural Misperceptions”

On this live episode, we announce the arrival of Elvis Christian Sinzinkayo, our newest team member. Elvis is an unusual guy – from a Burundian standpoint. He spent a span of his youth in Belgium so he had to readjust to life in Burundi once he moved back. He had to make new friends, refine his Kirundi accent and reconcile what he learned in Belgium with his new life. We spent most of the hour exploring some of these tensions that helped shape Elvis’ unique perspective.

More importantly, this is the show where the idea for “Elvis Sings Elvis” was born.

Unfortunately, we had some recurring technical problems on this and some future live shows, so we couldn’t add any new clips to the archive for this episode, but don’t be too disappointed – we dedicate a whole episode to introducing Elvis coming up.

Originally aired on September 17, 2011.

Episode 35 – “Coffee Pt. 4”

We return to the Coffee series just in time to talk to Ben Carlson about his upcoming role in the Prestige Cup coffee competition, in which Burundian coffees will be tasted, analyzed and evaluated by a group of national, regional and international coffee experts. We also took the time to hear more about Ben’s progress in setting up his coffee roasting and tasting enterprise, which he described in Episode 24. (28 minutes)

Job Advice – We continue our mini-series on the ’60-Second Pitch’, which we are now building into a contest for our listeners. Jeff and Chris get into the gritty mechanics of how to make a persuasive presentation in one minute or less. (7 minutes)

Restaurant Review – Ben’s comments about starting up a business in Burundi inspired us to invite some guests to talk about their respective start-up projects. On this Review at the Jardin Publique brochette bar, Jeff and Seth join Guests Jonathan O’Connor and Arnaud Mugisha for a rollicking discussion. This is probably our funniest restaurant review and somehow very informative as well. (23 minutes)

Originally aired on September 10, 2011.


1. Episode 35 “Coffee Pt. 4”

2. Job Advice: Even More Sixty-Second Pitch

3. Restaurant Review: Jardin Publique

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 34 – “Narrow Escapes”

Sometimes, we just like hearing a good story and on this show we bring you just that. The first is a story from our friend Neela Ghoshal, who lived in Burundi for several years. She tells us about a mouse in her apartment in New York City. The second is from our frequent contributor, Ben Radley, who tells us about his near-death (sort of) experience in Estonia. You might think, what’s the connection to development and Burundi? Well, everything. Because what development, and Burundi in particular, needs is creative ideas and new perspectives, and one source for those things is other people’s experiences. By gaining more exposure to other cultures and experiences, we open ourselves up to the lessons that daily life can teach us. Beside, we found these two stories of narrow escapes really entertaining. (28 minutes)

Job Advice – We continue our mini-series on the ’60-Second Pitch’, which we are now building into a contest for our listeners. (11 minutes)

Restaurant Review – It wasn’t as hard as we thought to find a restaurant that clearly illustrates the need for a narrow escape. Jeff, Seth and Guest Jonathan O’Connor consume chicken and car exhaust at the roadside eatery, Take Away Food (formerly known as “Quick”). (21 minutes)

Originally aired on September 3, 2011.


1. Episode 34 “Narrow Escapes”

2. Job Advice: More Sixty-Second Pitch

3. Restaurant Review: Take Away Food

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 33 Live – “Coffee Pt. 3 – Cup Of Excellence”

On this live show, we interview Parfait Ndayikeza, a university student who is interested in promoting Burundi’s coffee industry. Parfait has some very interesting concrete ideas to increase investment in Burundian coffee as well as ways that local initiatives can improve the quality of Burundian coffee. (Three clips: 14, 17 and 4 minutes)

In the fourth clip, we anticipate the arrival of many foreigners for the Cup of Excellence competition to talk about how Burundians interact with foreign nationals arriving in Burundi. Sometimes that reception can be overwhelming so we break it down and dissect how these interactions occur. (13 minutes)

Originally aired on August 27, 2011.


1. Episode 33 (Live recording) “Coffee Pt. 3 – Cup of Excellence” Clip 1

2. Episode 33 (Live recording) “Coffee Pt. 3 – Cup of Excellence” Clip 2

3. Episode 33 (Live recording) “Coffee Pt. 3 – Cup of Excellence” Clip 3

4. Episode 33 (Live recording) “Coffee Pt. 3 – Cup of Excellence” Clip 4

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 32 – “Leaving Burundi – Ciza’s Story”

Life changes happen – new people enter our lives and then they leave. It happens everywhere and nowhere is this truer than in Burundi, where life is always in flux, always on the edge. People squeeze out opportunities and then seize them. Car accidents claim lives, suddenly. Expats rotate in and out, annually. So it’s no surprise that one of Imagine Burundi’s team members one day announced that he was leaving the project to pursue his studies. What was a surprise was where he was headed. And not just the destination – pretty much the whole story is a long series of surprises. Our friend Ciza is leaving Burundi to go study in China, and we sit down with him before his departure to let him tell us what is on his mind and in his heart. (37 minutes)

Seth thinks this is one of our best (if not the best) episodes. We hope you’ll have a listen!

Restaurant Review – Our guest Jonathan O’Connor stays for the whole review this time and he helps Jeff send off Seth, who is about to travel, too. We visit the Italian eatery, La Trattoria.(22 minutes)

Originally aired on August 20, 2011.


1. Episode 32 “Leaving Burundi – Ciza’s Story”

2. Restaurant Review: La Trattoria

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 31 – “Police Relations”

How far will we go to learn more about the world and Burundi’s place in it? How about Tasmania in Australia? On this very informative episode, we were incredibly fortunate to have Ben Kromkamp on the show. Ben is a police officer in Tasmania, whose experience as a police officer contrasts in astonishing ways with police work in Burundi. In order to contextualize that perspective, we also brought on the show Steven Sadate, an Inspector in the Burundian police force. Together, Ben and Steven bring us a fascinating look at how police forces can engage and collaborate with the communities they serve. (29 minutes)

Job Advice – Now it gets serious in Chris’ “Seven Rules to Start Your Own Business”. We start our mini-series on the ’60-Second Pitch’. (9 minutes)

Restaurant Review – This week, Seth and Jeff jump through all kinds of hoops to review the Burundian institution, Belvedere, easily the nicest spot to get a drink at sunset in Bujumbura. A note about Belvedere: our review was based on a very specific experience, which occurred when there was a visiting chef overseeing the kitchen. We attribute our Quality scores to this oversight, but it appears he is only there part of the year.(20 minutes)

Originally aired on August 13, 2011.


1. Episode 31 “Police Relations”

2. Job Advice: Chris’ Seven Rules, Pt. 4 – Sixty Second Pitch Pt. 1

3. Restaurant Review: Belvedere

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 30 Live – “Love Burundi Festival”

In July 2011, the team spotted glossy posters going up all over town advertising announcing the “Love Burundi Festival.” We were so curious we decided to dedicate a whole live show to it, and as the festival fell on the same day as our broadcast, we decided to get some live coverage of the event. What follows is our sometimes funny but ultimately doomed attempt at field radio journalism. But along the way, we get to explore this mysterious event – was it unconditional love for Burundi? Something government sponsored? In the show, we spend the first segment talking about the event at large. Then we delve into some deeper issues of religious tolerance and how that plays out in Burundi – or in the studio. Then, well, we’re not sure what happens next actually. (Four clips: 25, 4, 4 and 18 minutes)

It’s kind of a strange show, but then, it’s kind of a strange festival.

Originally aired on August 6, 2011.


1. Episode 30 (Live recording) “Love Burundi Festival” Clip 1

2. Episode 30 (Live recording) “Love Burundi Festival” Clip 2

3. Episode 30 (Live recording) “Love Burundi Festival” Clip 3

4. Episode 30 (Live recording) “Love Burundi Festival” Clip 4

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 29 – “Driving in Burundi, Pt. 2”

We talk often about the driving phenomenon in Burundi – it’s chaotic, brutal, lawless (even unlawful), and it absolutely reflects many aspects of society and governance here. So naturally, we found the driving conditions in Bujumbura to be an open window through which we could observe larger trends and themes about life in Burundi.

It’s Seth and Jeff on the streets, providing direct commentary on traffic – what more do you need to know? (24 minutes)

Job Advice – We continue Chris’ “Seven Rules to Start Your Own Business” with the fourth rule: “Innovate!” (10 minutes)

Restaurant Review – Chez Gerard is a chain of brochette (kebabs) bars and one of the most inspiring entrepreneurial stories in Burundi. Guest Diner: Arnaud Mugisha. (23 minutes)

Originally aired on July 30, 2011.


1. Episode 29 “Driving In Burundi, Pt. 2”

2. Job Advice: Chris’ Seven Rules To Start Your Own Business, Pt. 3

3. Restaurant Review: Chez Gerard

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 28 – “Coffee Series, Pt. 2”

Sarah Kluth of Intelligentsia Coffee talks to Imagine Burundi about the coffee buying process and what exactly buyers, roasters and consumers have in mind when they seek out a gourmet coffee. Jeff speaks to Sarah and tries to figure out exactly where Burundi fits into this booming industry. (31 minutes)

Job Advice – We continue Chris’ “Seven Rules to Start Your Own Business” with the third rule: “Don’t Dream – Be Realistic!”

Restaurant Review – The bar and restaurant Cappuccino is one of the new(ish) espresso bars in town alongside other options like Aroma and Cafeier. Seth and Jeff visit to figure out where Cappuccino sits in the growing pantheon of places to enjoy a decent coffee drink.

Originally aired on July 23, 2011.


1. Episode 28 “Coffee Pt. 2”

2. Job Advice: Chris’ Seven Rules To Start Your Own Business, Pt. 2

3. Restaurant Review: Cappuccino

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 27 Live – “Relaunch!”

This show also marks an important moment for Imagine Burundi. It is the first show since Jeff was selected as a recipient of Grinnell College’s Wall Alumni Service, named after the alum Joseph Wall ’41, who was dedicated to causes that promoted social service and social change. The award included a grant that enabled Imagine Burundi to grow in important ways: we could now work on the project full-time – up to this point, it was really a side project that deserved more time. We were happy with our first six months but from this point on, we feel we made some tremendous strides in improving the quality of the show’s content and production. We hope you will agree. On this episode, we talk about new explorations that we were excited about: new stories, new guests and new questions. (Three clips: 22, 18 and 17 minutes)

Originally aired on July 16, 2011.


1. Episode 27 (Live recording) “Relaunch!” Clip 1

2. Episode 27 (Live recording) “Relaunch!” Clip 2

3. Episode 27 (Live recording) “Relaunch!” Clip 3

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 26 Live – “Our Six-Month Show”

On this live show, we reached the 26th Episode mark, so we took a moment to reflect on how we got as far as we did without getting anyone arrested while still putting out fairly interesting English radio programming in Burundi. Chris also talks about his motivations for the Job Advice segments. We then preview upcoming segments and explorations that we hope to do in the next six months, and along the way, we all try to laugh at our frequent technical difficulties. (Four clips: 9, 12, 22 and 1 minutes)

Originally aired on May 28, 2011.


1. Episode 26 (Live recording) “Our Six-Month Show” Clip 1

2. Episode 26 (Live recording) “Our Six-Month Show” Clip 2

3. Episode 26 (Live recording) “Our Six-Month Show” Clip 3

4. Episode 26 (Live recording) “Our Six-Month Show” Clip 4

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 25 “The Future is How?”

Burundi is one of the most forward-looking countries we have seen, blending a fervor of optimism with an eagerness to move on from the past. A lot of the hopes for economic development hinge on Burundi’s integration into the East African Common Market. This process and its outcomes weigh heavily on young Burundian minds, suggesting both the possibility of prosperity and apprehension over Burundi’s robust neighbors. So even though many people believe Burundi has turned the corner and is on its way to stability and growth, we wanted to take a moment to sit down and look carefully at this vision of Burundi’s future before we cloud it out with vague hopes. The future is now, it seems fashionable to say, especially for Burundi, but we want to know how are we going to get there. (31 minutes)

Job Advice – We answer listener Alexi Habonimana’s question, “How can Burundians be creative and set up their own businesses?” We take this opportunity to kick off a series called “Chris’ Seven Rules to Start Your Own Business,” from our Job Advice Correspondent, Chris Nsabiyumva. The first two rules are related. They are “Innovate!” and the second is “Have a Plan”. We take a look at them closely. (4 minutes)

Restaurant Review – Chez Mama Solo’s. If success and longevity are the goals, then more people should be taking a look at how Chez Mama Solo’s in Bwiza has been serving up delicious lunches to massive crowds for so long. (17 minutes)

Originally aired on May 21, 2011.


1. Episode 25 “The Future Is How?”

2. Job Advice: Chris’ Seven Rules To Start Your Own Business, Pt. 1

3. Restaurant Review: Chez Mama Solo

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 24 “Coffee In Burundi” Part One

When Seth first introduced us to Ben Carlson, our first response was, “Incredible.” We learned that Ben relocated from South Africa with his family on a risky gamble – that he could mobilize the Burundian coffee industry and attract international coffee exporters to invest in Burundi. On a personal level, we were amazed at his ambition and commitment, and from a broader perspective, we were stunned to find out that Burundi was sitting on a potential goldmine – if local producers raise their coffee production standards. Ben tells us the whole story. (32 minutes)

Job Advice – Jeff concludes his review of the first six months of Job Advice topics. (3 minutes)

Restaurant Review – We’ve reviewed Geny’s Café with Chris and we’ve reviewed  Tropicana with Seth. So this time, Seth, Jeff and Chris check out the new game in town: Cafeier, a slick espresso bar hidden away in Rucsa Plaza, one of Bujumbura’s first shopping malls. (22 minutes)

Originally aired on May 14, 2011.


1. Episode 24 “Coffee in Burundi” Pt. 1

2. Job Advice: Six-Month Review, Pt. 2

3. Restaurant Review: Cafeier

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 23 “Arts in Burundi” Part One

This live show dedicates a full hour to a massive topic that we will keep coming back to: “Arts in Burundi.” On the first clip, Jeff and Seth talk about the local film industry and the relevance of FESTICAB, Burundi’s own annual film festival. Seth also reveals his main motivations as a filmmaker.

Then Chris joins the guys on the second clip to talk about the traditional Burundian art form of drumming, which is easily the most visible of the Burundian arts. They discuss its meaning, evolution and ubiquity in Burundian society today. (14 minutes and 16 minutes)

Originally aired on May 7, 2011.


1. Episode 23 (Live recording) “Arts in Burundi” Pt. 1 Clip 1

2. Episode 23 (Live recording) “Arts in Burundi” Pt. 1 Clip 2

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 22 “What is Burundi?” Part Two

In the follow-up to the previous episode, which examined external perceptions of Burundi and Burundians, we look inward this time to find out what Burundians know and think of their country, raising questions of self-identity and awareness. Jeff again bounces around town looking for people that can supplement our understanding of Burundi and perhaps provide a counterpoint to the responses from Kenyans in Part One of this mini-series on “What is Burundi?” (31 minutes)

Job Advice – We provide a quick round-up of topics we have dealt with from the first six months, reminding our listeners that past Job Advice segments are available in our Archive or at the CCIB studio. (3 minutes)

Restaurant Review – At the Bouteille d’Or, you can get brochettes, the mucopo – a Congolese dish with stewed goat meat, or you can get run over by a car. Guest Arnaud Mugisha joins. (20 minutes)

Originally aired on April 30, 2011.


1. Episode 22 “What Is Burundi?” Pt. 2

2. Job Advice: Six-Month Review

3. Restaurant Review: Bouteille d’Or

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

Episode 21 “What Is Burundi?” Part One

One of Imagine Burundi’s missions is to expand the world’s understanding of Burundi while also letting Burundians confront that perception of their country. We realized that such an exploration would require a baseline understanding of what others knew about this tiny East African country. So while traveling in Kenya, Jeff wanted to hear what people in the region knew or thought of Burundi so he conducted an informal survey. He brought his recorder with him wherever he went and recorded Kenyans’ responses to the question, “What is Burundi?” (24 minutes)

Job Advice – It’s an important notion in service-based economies and industries that you have to “go the extra mile” to surpass the competition. We discuss this idea further to help listeners identify ways that they can exceed expectations. (7 minutes)

Restaurant Review – Perhaps no other restaurant in Bujumbura has exceeded our expectations as the newly renovated Tropicana Café. Seth and Jeff talk (and talk and talk) about their experience there. (22 minutes)

Originally aired on April 23, 2011.


1. Episode 21 “What is Burundi?” Pt. 1

2. Job Advice: Going the Extra Mile

3. Restaurant Review: Tropicana

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

For earlier shows go to Episodes 1-20.

Imagine Burundi is an English radio program that airs each week on 99.4 FM CCIB in Bujumbura and many parts of Burundi. New episodes are played on Saturdays and replayed on Wednesdays, both at 3 p.m.
Email us at or send us a SMS at (+257) 79.330.456

Site Contents © 2011 Imagine Burundi


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