In conversation with Aline Dusabe

The Burundian journalist Aline Dusabe has been an advisor to the SEZ in Bujumbura since 2019 / La journaliste burundaise Aline Dusabe est depuis 2019 conseillère de la SEZ à Bujumbura (Photo: Aline Dusabe).

En français ci-dessous.

In conversation with Burundian journalist and activist Aline Dusabe, we talked about “Changing the Narrative” and what spaces she hopes for in the future. Aline Dusabe has been advising the SEZ since 2019 and is the contact point for the BW-Burundi partnership in Burundi.

SEZ: When we as SEZ talk about “Changing the Narrative”, we think, among other things, of a more diverse image of the African continent and the African population. We want to create space for different people and their stories. When we think about “Changing the Narrative,” we no longer want to report on people, but rather give them the opportunity to speak for themselves. Aline, what do you mean by “Changing the Narrative”?

Aline Dusabe: At SEZ we talk a lot about “Changing the Narrative”. There are different narrative styles in Europe and Africa. But also between generations. When talking about “Changing the Narrative,” it is important to accept who you are, your position, and your narrative. That you accept the narratives in your own country and become aware of the impact these narratives have.

For me it is easier to talk to young African and European people about narratives. In projects with the new generation, young African and European people can rethink their opinions and narratives and create new narratives - with aspects from Africa and Europe.

Projects like this, for example SEZ school partnerships between Burundian and Baden-Württemberg schools, enable encounters and exchange.

SEZ: The SEZ would like to create new meeting places and speaking spaces for Afrodiasporic civil society in Baden-Württemberg and our partners in Burundi. For us, this also includes opening existing spaces to a broader audience. Aline, what spaces and resources do you think are needed to communicate a more diverse image of Burundi?

Aline Dusabe: I am grateful for SEZ’s efforts so far to present Burundi in a more diverse way. Especially the first one Africa Forum Baden-Württemberg and the BW-Burundi Conference last year, when representatives from Burundi were guests in Baden-Württemberg. Civil society and partners in Baden-Württemberg listened to them and listened to their wishes and needs. There was a space for the diaspora and it was a wonderful opportunity to learn. These events provide spaces for Burundian people and enable partnerships and relationships. Exchange and dialogue – not one-sided partnerships – are the most important thing for me.

In addition, the visits from Germany to Burundi help to establish a more diverse understanding of Burundi. A few weeks ago, for example, Philipp [Keil, note d. Red.] visited Burundi and looked at traditional dances. Such visits allow you to get to know the Burundian culture and way of life. A good partnership is not characterized by financial resources, but by cultural exchange and learning from each other.

SEZ: If we look at existing spaces and places, who do you think is currently particularly underrepresented?

Aline Dusabe: In particular, women, women with disabilities and members of the third ethnic group in Burundi, the Abatwa, are underrepresented. On International Women's Day we are therefore taking the opportunity to draw attention to the needs of women in Burundi. Also at BW-Burundi meeting At this year's Fair Trade trade fair, the focus is on women and their commitment. In Burundi, the young generation is also underrepresented. Young people have no place in politics and no opportunity to speak about their needs. Many young people in Burundi don't have a job. There is high unemployment and dissatisfaction, but no space to report it. Young people are discriminated against in Burundi, so I hope for more projects with the new generation. Because today she has nothing to say in Burundi.

SEZ: One last question for you Aline, what future do you hope for?

Aline Dusabe: With a view to the SEZ, I dream of a world with new narratives, where not only Burundian girls and boys from the school partnerships learn German, but German children learn Kirundi. A world in which people learn more about the shared colonial history of Germany and Burundi. I'm also thinking about friendships between Burundian and Baden-Württemberg communities. Because in the end it is partners and friendships in which narratives change.

En discussion with Aline Dusabe

Dans un entretien with the journalist and activiste Burundaise Aline Dusabe, our avons parlé de "Changing the Narrative" et des espaces qu'elle espère voir se développer à l'avenir. Depuis 2019, Aline Dusabe conseille la SEZ and est le point de contact pour le partenariat BW-Burundi au Burundi.

SEZ: Lorsque nous comme SEZ, parlons de “Changing the Narrative”, nous pensons between other parts of an image plus diversification of the African continent and the African population. Nous voulons créer un espace pour des personnes différentes et leurs histories. Quand nous pensons à “Changing the Narrative”, nous ne voulons plus parler des gens, mais leur offrir la possibilité de parler pour eux-mêmes. Aline, what do you think of “Changing the Narrative”?

Aline Dusabe: A la SEZ, nous parlons beaucoup de “Changing the Narrative”. There are different styles of combat in Europe and Africa. Mais also between the generations. Quand on parle de “Changing the Narrative”, it is important d’accepter qui on est, quelle est notre position et quels sont nos récits. Que l'on accepte les récits dans son propre pays et que l'on prenne conscience de l'impact de ces récits.

Pour moi, it is also easy to hear from the récits with the young Africans and Europeans. In the cadre of projects with the new generation, the young Africans and Europeans can reconsider their opinions and their récits and create new types of récits – with the aspects of Africa and Europe.

The projects, based on examples from the partenariats scolaires de la SEZ between the écoles Burundaises and the écoles du Bade-Wurtemberg, permetettent des rencontres et des échanges.

SEZ: The SEZ is the creation of new countries and spaces of parole for the civil society of Afro-diasporics in Bade-Wurtemberg ainsi que pour nos partenaires au Burundi. Pour nous, cela implique également d’ouvrir les espaces existants à un public plus large. Aline, quels espaces et quelles resources sont nécessaires, selon toi, pour communiquer une image plus diversifiée du Burundi?

Aline Dusabe: Je suis reconnaissante pour les efforts déployés jusqu’à present par la SEZ pour presenter le Burundi de manière plus diversifiée. Notamment lors du premier forum Africain du Bade-Wurtemberg et de la conference BW-Burundi de l’année dernière, lorsque des représentants du Burundi ont été invités dans le Bade-Wurtemberg. The civil society and the partners of Bade-Wurtemberg are on the outside and on the entendu quels étaient leurs souhaits et leurs besoins. It is available in space for the diaspora and has a great opportunity to practice. These events offer space for people in Burundaises and permetent des partenariat et des relations. L’échange et le dialogue – and non des partenariats unilatéraux – sont pour moi les plus importants à cet égard.

In other words, the visits to Burundi also include a comprehensive overview and diversification of Burundi. In another example, Philipp [Keil, ndlr] visited Burundi and had several assistants in the traditional dances. The telles visites permetettent de découvrir la culture et le mode de vie burundais. Un bon partenariat ne se caractérise pas par les moyens financiers, mais par l'échange culturel et par le fait que l'on apprend les us des other's.

SEZ: Si nous regardons les espaces et les lieux existants, qui est, selon toi, particulièrement sous-représenté actuellement ?

Aline Dusabe: Les women, les femmes handicapées and les members of the three ethnic groups of Burundi, les Abatwa, sont particulièrement sous-représentés. C'est pourquoi nous profits de la Journée internationale de la femme pour attirer l'attention sur les besoins des femmes au Burundi. The women and their engagement are at the center of the encounters in BW-Burundi at the fair trade fair this year. De plus, au Burundi, the young generation is sous-représentée. Les kids don't have the place in politics and they don't have the possibility of speaking to other people. The name of the young Burundians is not pas d'emploi. The chômage and the mécontentement sont élevés, mais il n'y a pas d'espace pour en parler. Les children are victims of discrimination in Burundi, this is what they see in addition to projects with the new generation. Car aujourd'hui, elle n'a rien à dire au Burundi.

SEZ: A final question for Aline, what avenir espères-tu?

Aline Dusabe: En ce qui concerne la SEZ, je rêve d'un monde avec de new récits, où non seulement les filles et les garçons burundais issus des partenariats scolaires applaufent l'allemand, mais où les enfants allerands applaufent le kirundi. A world of the gens apprent davantage sur the histoire coloniale commune de l'Allemagne et du Burundi. Outside, I spend time with friends between the municipalities of Burundais and the cells of Bade-Wurtemberg. Car au final, ce sont les partenariats et les amitiés qui font évoluer les récits.

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