Union Internationale de la Marionnette

Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO


The national Centre of UNIMA Burundi was founded on April 25, 2023, with the approval of the Executive Council of UNIMA International during the Congress held in Bali, Indonesia.

UNIMA Burundi’s mission is to promote the art of puppetry, a largely unrecognized art form in the Republic of Burundi, by supporting training, creation, and research to enhance the recognition of this art both at the national level and in the Great Lakes region.

This recognition also involves UNIMA Burundi’s commitment to establishing close ties with other national Centres, especially those represented within the UNIMA Africa Commission, of which UNIMA Burundi is a member. Additionally, UNIMA Burundi is developing collaborations with other national Centres worldwide as well as with local associations and institutions.

Despite limited financial resources, UNIMA Burundi continues its missions by providing its members with opportunities for training. Among these, we can mention the training supported by UNIMA International and endorsed by UNESCO, titled “Puppetry of Tomorrow in Africa: Dramaturgies and Digital Experimentations” in May 2023, with trainers such as Alessandra Amicarelli (Italy) and Athanase Kabré (Burkina Faso) for puppetry in public spaces.

Under the impetus of the non-profit association Abasamandari, founded in 2018 by a group of eight students majoring in performing arts at the University of Burundi, UNIMA Burundi is currently engaged in a phase of research and creation to promote the art of puppetry.

Some members of the Abasamandari association have benefited from the expertise of renowned trainers, such as Jean Michel d’Hoop (Belgium) for puppet construction and manipulation, and ISIS Hauben (Belgium) for clay and paper techniques.

Thanks to this enriching experience, these members are now able to create their very first puppet theatre show, which will be presented publicly in a parade in the city of Bujumbura.

UNIMA Burundi, in close collaboration with the Abasamandari association, is launching a creative project titled “The father and the mother,” a show featuring giant puppets, music, and dance that fully aligns with its statutory objectives.

This show will feature three giant puppets, one representing a cow, symbolizing the importance of this animal in Burundian culture, while the other two represent a man and a woman dressed in traditional Burundian attire.

The goal of this project is to preserve and protect Burundian culture, which is currently at risk of disappearing, by using the innovative art of puppetry.

However, it is essential to emphasize the challenges that budding artists face, particularly when exploring a new form of artistic expression in Burundi and East Africa. Securing funding for new projects is particularly challenging, as most funding opportunities require a prior experience of 3 to 5 years, making this quest even more complex for emerging artists.

This is why the national Centre of UNIMA Burundi, in partnership with the Abasamandari association, is seeking financial support through crowdfunding, which is essential to bring this show to life and enable the public to discover and appreciate the art of puppetry in all its splendour in Bujumbura. You will find the link to the fundraising campaign below.


UNIMA Burundi would like to express its gratitude to all individuals, institutions, and associations willing to support this project.



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– Eraste Mandera, President of UNIMA Burundi
– Berline Mugiraneza, Vice-President of UNIMA Burundi
– Fabrice Shurweryimana, Treasurer of UNIMA Burundi
– Ercie Nishimwe, Secretary of UNIMA Burundi

– Eraste Mandera (Contact: Email – manderaeraste46@gmail.com)
– Jean D’arc Niyongabo (Contact: Email – jeandarcniyongabo@gmail.com)

– Eraste Mandera
– Berline Mugiraneza
– Ercie Nishimwe
– Fabrice Shurweryimana
– Jean D’arc Niyongabo
– Prosper Nkunzimana
– Fabrice Djuma Saïd
– Mathilde Niyintunze
– Telesphore Shakaryimana
– Leslie Cybela Iteka