Burundi Royal Family || Kingdom of Burundi

The Burundi royal family is the reigning family of Burundi as a monarchy before it was abolished in 1966. The royal family are considered to be of Ganwa and not neither Hutu or Tutsi ethnic groups. Royal descendants of the ganwa clan are many.

Kingdom of Burundi

The Kingdom of Burundi began in the 1500s century until 1966 when it was abolished by the government of prime minister Michel Micombero. Six years later the last King 24 year old King Ntare v Charles Ndizeye was killed in 1972.

Government: Monarchy abolished in 1966 but maintains a royal house.
Head of State: King (Mwami)
Royal House: Ganwa dynasty
Royal capital : Gitega

The ruling house was called the royal house of Ntwero. While the family is huge with having many descendants of previous kings, this post will feature mainly the royal family in the main line and in the modern photography world.

Royal Titles

  • King – Mwami/Umwami
  • Queen mother – Mugabekazi
  • Queen – Mwamikazi
  • Prince – Muganwa
  • Princess – Muganwakazi

Kings(Abami) of Burundi

  • Mwami Ntare I Rushatsi Cambarantama: c. 1530–c. 1550
  • Mwami Mwezi I Baridamunka: c. 1550–c. 1580
  • Mwami Mutaga I Mutabazi: c. 1580–c. 1600
  • Mwami Mwambutsa I Nkomati: c. 1600–c. 1620
  • Mwami Ntare II Kibogora: c. 1620–c. 1650
  • Mwami Mwezi II Nyaburunga: c. 1650–c. 1680
  • Mwami Mutaga II Senyamwiza Mutamo: c. 1680–c. 1700
  • Mwami Mwambutsa II Nyarushamba: c. 1700–c. 1720
  • Mwami Ntare III Kivimira Semuganzashamba: c. 1720–c. 1750
  • Mwami Mwezi III Kavuyimbo (Ndagushimiye): c. 1750–c. 1780
  • Mwami Mutaga III Sebitungwa: c. 1780–c. 1800
  • Mwami Mwambutsa III Mbonyuburundi (Mbariza): c. 1800–c. 1830
  • Mwami Ntare IV Runzi (Rutaganzwa Rugamba): c. 1830–c. 1850
  • Mwami Mwezi IV Gisabo Bikata-Bijoga: c. 1850–1908
  • Mutaga IV Mbikije: c. 1908–1915
  • Mwami Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge Rubangishamiheto: 1915–1966
  • Mwami Ntare V Charles Ndizeye: 1966

Mwambutsa Royal Line

The descendants of this line are the last Royal family that ruled Burundi from 1915 to 1966. This includes king Mwambutsa iv, his son King Ntare V Charles Ndizeye, his son crown prince Louis Rwagasore, and daughters crown Princess Rosa Paula Iribagiza Mwambutsa and princess Regina Kanyange of Burundi.

The last ruling royal family

King Ntare V Charles Ndizeye of Burundi

HM late King Ntare V Charles Ndizeye, the last King of Burundi was the last born child and son of late HM King Mwabutsa IV of Burundi and his second wife late HM Queen Baramparaye of Burundi. His father was removed from the throne and he succeeded him in 1966 June. However he reigned for a few months until November 1966 when the prime minister Michel Micombero overthrew the monarchy.
The king tried to take back the throne in 1972 but was assassinated by the then authorities. His body has never been found despite many searches by the royal family and burundi’s current government. He died at 24 years unmarried.

King Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge of Burundi

HM late King Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge of Burundi. He reigned from 1915 to 1966. He succeded his father HM King Mutaga IV.
He was married to HM late Queen Therese Kanyonga (divorced) and later to HM late Queen Baramparaye of Burundi.
He was father to late Crown Prince Louis Rwagasore, Crown Princess Rosa Paula iribagiza, late Princess Regina Kanyange and late King Ntare v Charles Ndizeye.
He died in 1977 and is buried in Switzerland according to his wishes.

Queen Therese Kanyonga of Burundi

HM late Queen Therese Kanyonga was the first wife of HM late King Mwambutsa IV of Burundi. They later on divorced. Together they had three children namely :

  • Prince Louis Rwagasore
  • Princess Rosa Paula Iribagiza
  • Princess Regina Kanyange

Queen Baramparaye of Burundi

HM late Queen Baramparaye was the second wife of late HM King Mwambutsa IV of Burundi. Born in 1929, she married him in 1946 at the age of 18. After the fall of the monarchy she lived a simple life neglected by the Burundi government. She died in 2007 at the age of 80 receiving a state funeral. Together they had a son

  • King Ntare V Charles Ndizeye, last king of Burundi.

Prince Louis Rwagasore of Burundi

HRH late Prince Louis Rwagasore of Burundi was the eldest son of late HM King Mwambutsa IV of Burundi and his first wife HM Queen Therese Kanyonga of Burundi. He also served as the prime minister of the Kingdom of Burundi shortly before independence. Prince Rwagasore was assassinated by a Greek national and 3 Burundians who were members of the rival party that was pro belgian in 1961 at hotel Tanganyika. He was married to Princess Marie Rose Ntakimevyo in 1959. They had two daughters who died soon after their father after a suspected poisoning vaccine reaction. He is buried at the Louis Rwagasore national memorial and is usually celebrated in Burundi as an independence hero. Every 13 October is celebrated as Louis Rwagasore day in Burundi. Princess Marie Rose Ntamikevyo died in 1973 after a suspected poisoning as revealed by her parents.

  • Princess Marie-Thérèse Rwagasore
  • Princess Marie-Pia Rwagasore

Crown Princess Rosa Paula Iribagiza Mwambutsa of Burundi

HRH Crown Princess Rosa Paula Iribagiza Mwambutsa of Burundi is the only surviving child of late HM King Mwambutsa IV of Burundi and is the only surviving sibling of late HM King Ntare v Charles Ndizeye of Burundi. She was installed as head of the Royal family and heir of her father in the early 2000s and is recognised by the government of Burundi as such. However some suggest it’s against the tradition of male succession. She has served as a member of Parliament in Burundi government. She has 7 children. Her first husband was Prince Andre Muhirwa, who was a prime minister of Burundi at one time.

  • Prince Rémy Ciza Muhirwa
  • Prince Charles Muhirwa.
  • Princess Louise Muhirwa
  • Princess Michelle Muhirwa
  • Anita Iribagiza
  • Sheila Babile Kiliza
  • David Kabunga wa Mwambutsa Hamisi Kiliza

Princess Regina Kanyange of Burundi

HRH late Princess Regina Kanyange was the last daughter of late HM King Mwambutsa IV and late Queen Therese Kanyonga. She was married with children. The Ndenzako female royal line is descended from her.

  • Anne-Marie Ndenzako
  • Aline Ndenzako
  • Mireille Ndenzako
  • Papaula Ndenzako
  • Claudette Ndenzako

The Kamatari royal line

Prince Ignace Kamatari of Burundi

The Kamatari line descendants originate from Prince Ignace Kamatari of Burundi. He was the brother of HM late King Mwambutsa iv of Burundi. He was assassinated in 1970 and his family escaped to exile in Europe. He was married thrice with 4 sons and 4 daughters.

  • Prince Komoni Deogratias Kamatari
  • Prince Pascal Kamatari
  • Prince Louis Kamatari
  • Prince Godefroid Kamatari
  • Princess Catherine Kamatari
  • Princess Esther Kamatari
  • Princess Baudouine Kamatari
  • Princess Fabiola Kamatari

Princess Esther Kamatari of Burundi

HH princess Esther Kamatari of Burundi is the most famous member of the Burundi royal family. She is the daughter of late HRH Prince Ignace Kamatari (older brother of HM King Mwambutsa IV of Burundi) and one of his three wives Princess Agrippine. She ia therefore a cousin to the Princess Rosa Paula iribagiza Mwabutsa of Burundi. In 197o her father was assassinated forcing the family to exile in France. She started her modelling career and is today termed as the ever first black French model. With her charitable foundation she has helped many children and underprivileged people in Burundi during hard times. She was the face of guerlain French fashion house and still models at the age of 68. She has wished to run for president of Burundi with the Abahiza monarchist party. She is married to a French doctor with four children.

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Royal Sites

  • Gishora Drum Sanctuary – Royal drums were symbol of power of the kings of burundi. today the descendants of the clan ‘Abatimbo’ descending from the traditional lineage of ‘Abanyigisaka’ that held the role of drummers to the king, still continue the skill. It is a amajor tourst ttraction in Burundi. Gishora drum sanctuary was built in 1903 by King Mwami Mwezi IV Gisabo 
  • Prince Louis Rwagasore mausoleum – located in Kiriri, Bujumbura it is the mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore, a independence hero who was assasinated by the belgians. He was the son of Mwami (King) Mwambutsa IV. Every 13th October the country remembers him. Beside his grave is the graves of his two young daughters
  • Mpotsa sacred Forest – it is a well preserved sacred forest in Rusaka commune, Mwaro province that was used as a necropolis for the queen mothers of Burundi. It contains four graves of the queen mothers. each represented by a sacred grove and a sign post.
  • The three leading royal ladies are buried in Gitega while King Mwambutsa IV was buried in Switzerland while King Ntare V Charles Ndizeye body has never been found.
Grave of Queen Baramparaye
Grave of Queen Therese Kanyonga (old pic, grave has been renovated)
Grave of Princess Regina Kanyange (old pic, grave has been renovated)

Photos courtesy of uMwami Mwambutsa page /Facebook and private collections.

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