After the 2013 Blogathon, I decided that I would learn something about each country in Africa and blog about it. I figured I’d be able to do one a week. Well, it’s two years in, and I’m about two-thirds of the way through the continent.
Burundi was a hard nation to do. I started by checking out Life after Violence: A People’s Story of Burundi (African Arguments) from the UIC Library. It is a study of the people of Burundi after civil war was settled in 2001. The first few chapters were interesting, and then I misplaced it. It remains lost, so it looks like I’ll be writing a check to UIC soon.
I found another book at UIC, The Princess of Burundi (Ann Lindell Mysteries). It turns out that in an academic library, the detective stories are all filed with Scandinavian Literature in Translation. I thought it might be a fun read that had something to do with Burundi. Instead, it was a slow-moving detective story about the death of a man who maintained a tropical aquarium. Among his fish was an exotic cichlid from Lake Tanganyika known as the Princess of Burundi. I learned nothing of the country.
The thing is, Life After Violence is now obsolete. Even if I had not lost the book, it would not have told me much about the country as it is today. It appeared to be doing well when Peter Uvin wrote it, but the transition from civil war to democracy continues to be fraught and violent. It will be a while before Burundi is suitable for investors.
When I started this project, I thought I’d find a lot of good news about Africa’s nations. That hasn’t happened. Am I looking in the wrong places, or is there not much good news to tell?
If you found a copy of Life After Violence in Chicago’s Loop, it’s probably the library book. Let me know if you have it!