Raising Next Generation Burundians
Early 2017, Indundi Magazine conducted a little research in order to find out how 3rd generation Burundians in the Diaspora maintain a connection to the motherland.
Third generation Burundians, are children born from 2000 to the present time. These children were born and raised in developed countries.
Indundi Magazine identifies them as “Burundos” because they can be Burundo-American, Burundo-Canadian, Burundo-Belgian, Burundo-German, Burundo-Australian, Burundo-Asian, etc. There were 18 families who responded to the survey with 84 % living in North America and 16% in Europe.
Here are the findings:
77% of the parents that responded have 1 or 2 children. Only 5% had more than 3 children.
28% of the Burundos have one parent from a different race (mixed).
Only 5 % of the Burundos understand and speak Kirundi fluently. But the majority (67%) know basic words in Kirundi such as “Bite?”” Ni sawa”, “Ego”, “Oya”, “Amata”, “Kira”, “Ndagukubita.”
55% of the parents raising Burundos haven’t discussed ethnic issues yet. One parent said they haven’t opened the discussion yet because the children “are still too young to know about any ethnic groups.” But 44% of the parents intend to discuss about the conflict. A parent shared: “I will discuss it so she understands the world she inhabits with a critical view. [I ] don’t believe in sheltering people.”
39% of the parents raising Burundos believe their child(ren) should know which ethnic group they belong to. One respondent thinks it is “important to know the path that lead to create [ethnic groups]”. However, 44% don’t think it’s important for their Burundo to make the distinction. One parent’s justification is: “Because my family is mixed with both [ethnic group].”
17% of the parents are still unsure if they will tell their Burundo(s) or not which ethnic group they identify with.
When it comes to discipline, only 5% of the parents believe in spanking their Burundo(s). 44% take away privileges such as TV time, electronics, playtime, etc. And the other 44% combines spanking, grounding, and taking away privileges as disciplinary methods.
55% of the Burundos haven’t been to Burundi yet.
Career wise, 50% of the respondents reported that they encourage their Burundo(s) to pursue career mostly in the medicine and technology fields.
It is clear that Burundos are getting a very different upbringing than their parents and grandparents experienced. But although they are growing up in different cultures, a majority of Burundian parents in the diaspora are actively keeping some aspects of the original culture alive. It remains to be seen if it will be enough to maintain a connection to the roots.
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