Rigidity in the name of culture. Is it that bad?

Miss Claudia

Yesterday, Miss Claudia Laurie appeared wearing a bikini in an international beauty contest.  In a country, like Burundi,  where people are so conservative, God only knows how huge a risk she took. What if we could substitute support for judgement instead ?

On another not so quiet day on social platforms in Burundi, the young Miss Claudia Laurie Nzirumbanje who represented Burundi at the international beauty contest, Miss Earth, in the Philippines was seen on a photo wearing a bikini.

The photo created an uproar on social media. With the lady accused of all the evils, specifically being termed a “woman depraving Burundian morals”? Is it surprising?

In no way. Because that is what our society knows best: judging. Especially when it is done in the name of culture, We are quick to send people to the scaffold. Judging, as a daily job, judging, each minute, each second. Nailing to the pillory. Words spouting out of the darkness, thought supplanted by the cancan.

No one taking the time to question themselves before tweeting or commenting. The indictments without appeal. Rigidity in the name of culture. We condemn quickly because we are a hypocritical society. We are quick to condemn, yet some of us still fail to see the hypocrisy in our own lives and actions.

And some people here and there who claim to be defenders of Burundian culture: Did I name Umuco Gang? Huh. Shocking formulas, incantatory but completely incorrect. They appear to have problems with their speech, balance, and mood. Always ready to spread hatred, invalidate critical reasoning, and garner attention at any cost. The obsession to radicalize opinion, and take a stand against all those whom they believe do not respect Burundian culture and morals. Are they good representatives of the values they claim to uphold? No, I don’t believe so. Let us heal.

This controversy exposes the hypocrisy of our culture – for women, for minorities, for everyone.

It’s not about Claudia Lauria appearing in a bikini, it’s about us and how we are as a society.

From Bujumbura, we condemn the actions in Iran of those who caused the death of Masha Amini because of his attire, See us now condemning a woman because she posed in a bikini and yet tomorrow at dawn, when the sun first peeks out, we will be among those who claim to be defenders of women’s rights. The hypocrisy.

It’s two things

Either Burundian girls participate in beauty contests with all the stages required without boycotting any in the name of respecting Burundian culture, or they skip some steps like swimsuit walk and we accept to remain silent when they go and return without any distinction.

In my opinion, we should focus on empowering women, especially young women. Most women fail due to lack of support. I look forward to the day when Burundian women are judged for their skills and not their attire. Therefore, we shouldn’t judge a miss because she posted a picture in a bikini but because she doesn’t have a convincing project and in this case, few know the project Claudia Laurie will present in the competition, including me. That’s how shameful it is.

Courage dear Claudia!



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Guillaume Muhoza

Executive Director of Iris News

One comment

  • Jeanne d'Arc Nduwayo

    November 16, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    And if it were about Olympic game, in swimming, where she had to wear in such way. And let’s image she won a golden medal in swimming, would she be blamed like that???


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