Laugh your Way Through Burundi’s First-Ever Canal Comedy Buja Festival

The Festival, organized for the first time in Burundi, receives financial and logistical support from Canal Plus, the European and French embassies in Burundi, and Swiss Cooperation.

The event spans two weeks of training for young aspiring humorists, culminating in three shows on three consecutive day. The first of them was held on Monday April 17, at the French School of Bujumbura.

The festival attracted some of the biggest names in comedy from across the world, including the Tunisian comedian Samia Orosemane, the Cameroonian funnyman Valérie Ndongo and Guinea national Oumar Manet.

The first show was a success, drawing in large crowds of locals and expats alike. The audience was treated to a wide range of comedy styles with the highlights of the festival being the performance by Samia Orosemane, who brought her unique brand of observational humor to the stage.

Orosemane, who has been described as “the queen of Franco-Arab comedy” tackled issues such as African languages and  their accents, identity, culture, and family with wit and charm.

Valérie Ndongo from Cameroun, also wowed audiences with his irreverent take on life in Africa. Ndongo, who rose to fame on the popular TV show “Jambo Africa,” drew on his stay in Burundi to create a hilarious and relatable set. « In Burundian restaurants, there’s always a meat monitor. He’s the guy standing by the table with the plates, ready to pounce on anyone trying to swipe a second piece of meat. He doesn’t smile, he doesn’t bat an eye. How do you call that man? »

“But it wasn’t just the international stars who shone at the festival. Local comedians also performed, especially Mikael Sengazi, who delivered a barrage of jokes related to the taboo of sex in families and parent-child relations in Burundian families. Local up-and-coming talents, such as Hippolite Bakari and the young lady Naomie, also had the chance to showcase their skills.”

The festival was a true celebration of the art of comedy, bringing together performers and audiences from diverse backgrounds to laugh, learn, and connect. It also highlighted the growing comedy scene in Bujumbura.

Organizers of the festival hope that it will become an annual event, providing a platform for both local and international comedians to showcase their talents and connect with audiences in Burundi and beyond.

As Valéry Ndongo put it in her remarks, “Comedy is a universal language that brings people together, and I am honored to be a part of this festival in Bujumbura. I hope that it will inspire more young people to pursue their passion for comedy and to never stop laughing.”


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Guillaume Muhoza

Executive Director of Iris News

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