South African media personality “Uncle” Lupi shares one of his most poignant journeys in Africa.
What led you to Bujumbura and Burundi?
I met a young woman called Christelle Mande, who is charismatic, on a production meeting. She was a complete stranger. I enquired about her origins as I could tell by her beautiful accent and gorgeous features that she was no South African. This was on Monday. She told me she was from Burundi.I mentioned the last I heard of Burundi was in the nineties during the genocide. My curiosity levels got amped. I asked how often does she visit and she told me she had not visited since the genocide but would be visiting the Thursday that week, without hesitation I gave her my credit card and demanded she books me a ticket.
What positive affirmation did your stay in Bujumbura reinforce?
That Africa remains the most hospitable and loving continent in the world, troubled and wounded as we are. We are the embodiment of the resilience of the human spirit.
Where did you stay?
The family had lost its family home so they booked a villa in the heart of Bujumbura, not far from Parliament.
You are a man with a taste for fine experiences. Did Burundi deliver?
Nothing compares to their food and coffee. The night life is very first world and the clubs are superb.
What’s your favourite memory of Burundi?
Swimming at Lake Tanganyika at Borabora; the water is pristine blue and white sand. It was a magical experience.
Would you recommend Burundi?
Oh hell yeah. I made so many friends.
What must a first time visitor make sure they experience?
Borabora by Lake Tanganyika. They must also east ndagala, a small deep fried fish, at Au coin d’ixel located between Rohro 1 and Bwiza.
Burundi reminded me that Africa is the love that we are, the strength that we are and the gentle hearts that we are.
I stayed with a family .They had not seen each other in 18 years. They all came from different parts of the world as they had become refugees in London, Holland, Belgium and the US. It was an emotional experience. I had to remove myself so they can reconnect and bond. I was afforded royalty treatment. Some wonderful fellas, upon realising I was a South African offered me a Toyota Prado to drive around during my four day stay.
Lastly, is Buj safe?
It’s much safer than Hillbrow