Little known in the English-speaking world, Burundi is Rwanda's twin, a small Central African country with a complex history of ethnic tension between its Hutu and Tutsi populations that has itself experienced traumatic events, including mass killings of over 200,000 people. The country remained in a state of simmering civil war until 2004, after which Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela took turns as mediators in a lengthy, and eventually successful, peace process which has endowed Burundi with new institutions, including a new constitution, that led to the election of a majority Hutu government in 2005. But there are many problems still to solve apart from ethnic tensions, above all the entrenched poverty of most Burundians, which has seen it designated by NGOs as one of the most deprived countries on earth. Nigel Watt's book discusses the troubled political fortunes of this beautiful, yet disturbed country in the heart of Central Africa.
He traces the origins of its political crises, sheds light on Burundi's recent history by means of interviews with leading participants and those whose lives have been affected by horrific events, and helps demystify the country's "ethnic" divisions.