In Burundi, a mass wedding celebration for DRC refugees

2016-10-17 23:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kavumu, Burundi - Inside a wooden, tin-roofed structure in the Kavumu refugee camp in eastern Burundi, 46 couples are waiting to get married. They have all fled their homes in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some of them are already married but, having lost their wedding certificates when they left their homes, are going through the process again. Others, like Bonnet Mfaume and Zubeda Karinga, are marrying each other for the first time. Bonnet is pregnant with their fifth child and describes her "unusual happiness" about the occasion. It is a cause for celebration at a time when they have had little to feel positive about. 

But marriage can mean more than that for the refugees. Abel Mbilinyi, the Burundi representative for the UNHCR, explains that marriage offers "protection for women".

"In a refugee camp, depending on which religion you are having, depending on culture, the protection of a husband is so important," he continues. "Women who are single are vulnerable. They are vulnerable to being attacked by single men."

 MORE: Is the DRC on the brink of collapse?

Deo Kasereka and Antoinette Etamboseka are among those waiting to get married. They have been a couple for many years and have five children together.

They fled their home in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after Deo was accused of giving the M23 rebels medical supplies from the pharmacy he owned. He says men in military uniforms came to his house while he was in hiding.

"Not finding me there, they abused my wife," he says. "I had a little brother at home to whom they also asked my whereabouts. He replied that he was not aware of where I was and they shot him dead on the spot."

The couple's oldest son is 14 years old. He went missing during their flight, and they haven't seen or heard from him since.

Read more on:    drc  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  central africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.