Dancing with the Diaspora

Interview Khadja Nin

Khadja Nin from Burundi visited South Africa

She said, “The world does not talk about Burundi. I don't know why. More than 400 000 people died because of that ethnic war. I don't know why the world focuses on one thing and not another. Maybe there are not enough camera's? 'There is not a camera for Burundi today. Sorry!' Burundi is under war! Every month schools are closed. I have the chance to work with UNISEF and I have a mission in Burundi in April. It's hard to visit. Burundi is under famine. More than 100 000 people are starving. It is a drama. And nobody talks about it like it is nothing new! It makes me sad and mad. People count on me and I am just an artist, I am just a singer and song writer. I try my best. All African artists try our best to bring a positive image about Africa or talk about the problems in Africa. Maybe it will help. It is something you have to do. Even if you don't want to be an ambassador for Africa you are.

“There is another problem. We don't want that they globalize African music and put it in a box called world music. When we visit US or Europe we always talk in the name of Africa. I am African but I don't know the whole of Africa. It is very difficult because we are few. There is a real problem but it is better than before because now we have Khadja Nin, Salief Keita, Youssou N'Dour… Step by step it is happening. In African music there is something irresistible. But it will take time like everything, like Nelson Mandela.

“We have traditional music like the drummers of Burundi but we do not have studios. We do not have peace to make music in a professional way. I am who I am. And the thing I have inside is my music. The people of Burundi love my music a lot because I am also the only one. They are proud.

“You have to do what you want to do. When we were teenagers in Burundi making music was not something that could be a job. The only thing that would be wrong is if you do music because your record label wants you to do something. That is the wrong way! If tomorrow I want to do a rock album, I can do it because I am a singer. African artists need support.

“Everything has two faces: the good and the bad. The good is to bring hope to the people of Burundi. They are happy and proud. On the other side they count too much on you. It becomes sometimes heavy. You know you can't change the situation. You feel sad. People sometimes are disappointed because they hope too much that you can change their lives. It is not true. We just try our best and try to be good persons because everyone is watching us. They are waiting. I am very lucky, music is enough to make me live good.”




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