1 July: Rwanda and Burundi’s Independence Day

1 07 2021

Today marks the day when two East African countries, Rwanda and Burundi, gained their independence from the Belgian colonial rule. 1 July is a national holiday in both countries.

Originally, Rwanda and Burundi were one country called the Kingdom of Rwanda, which was colonised by the Germans from the late 19th Century. After World War I ended, Germany transferred this colony to Belgium, and was then called the colony of Ruanda-Urundi, which remained under Belgian rule until the end of World War II.

Belgium had to give Ruanda-Urundi independence as a part of the United Nations Trust Territory’s guideline that Belgium had accepted, and Ruanda-Urundi finally gained independence on 1 July 1962. One year before that, the Rwandans held a referendum refusing the monarchy and asked to be separated from Burundi, which was ruled by the monarchy. Rwanda and Burundi then split into two independent countries. 

Most people in independent countries hold celebrations on their independence day, however, it is different for the people in Rwanda and Burundi as both suffered from bloody massacres between ethnic groups after their independence. The Rwandans, as a consequence, do not hold any celebration on that day, but will rather do it on the 4 July instead.

As for Burundians, they see their Independence Day as a symbol of unity after the conflicts and crisis.


Independence Day in Burundi in 2021. (2021). Retrieved from ​https://www.officeholidays.com/…/burundi-independence-day

Independence Day in Rwanda in 2021. (2021). Retrieved from ​https://www.officeholidays.com/…/rwanda-independence-day

Rwanda. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.sahistory.org.za/place/rwanda

 #KasetsartUniversityAfricaAsiaProgramme #KUAAP #SOCKU