HER EXCELLENCY, REVEREND DENISE BUCUMI NKURUNZIZA,
THE FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI
Her Excellency Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA, First Lady of the Republic of Burundi was born at Gatsinda, Mwumba District of Ngozi province in the northern part of Burundi on December 1st 1969. Rev. Denise BUCUMI, daughter of Protais NTAHOMPAGAZE and Angèle GAKECURU was born in a family of 12 children with 5 girls and 7 boys. She did her primary school education at Gatsinda Primary School and the first four years of high school at Busiga in her home region to complete the last four years at ENEFA Kibumbu (Ecole Normal d’Education Familiale/ Family Economy Education School), Mwaro province, in the central region of Burundi.
A strong advocate of moral responsibility as a tool for national growth, Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA has been quoted as saying ‘if you honor your nation and live to obey God the nation will prosper.” To better her performance and quality service delivery in her interventional programs, the First Lady, despite her heavy load of responsibilities, underwent a three-year program and got her Higher Pastoral Studies Diploma on November 27th 2010 from the Leadership Institute Burundi, a school established by the African Ministries Networks (AFMIN). Thanks to her character, it was with no hesitation that Her Excellency Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA was granted an Honorary Doctoral Degree by the United Graduate College and Seminary of California in the United States of America on March 17th 2010. Ambassador Clyde Rivers, on a visit of Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA to Hope Africa University February 2015 described Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA ‘not ashamed to teach her faith to the young people of her nation so they may have a great future.”
She founded her family in 1994 and is now a mother to two daughters and three sons. She served as a Migrations’ Headquarters Officer since August 1st 1993 to 2002. When HE Mr. Pierre NKURUNZIZA, the President of the Republic of Burundi joined the National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Force for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) movement in April 1995, Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA was left with a small child and a four months pregnancy.
The second child was born when she was alone, hated and tormented by the government of the time for being a wife to a rebel who wanted peace and social justice to be done in the governance system of Burundi. By then, Mrs. NKURUNZIZA led a life full of misery and hardships until 1997 when she received Jesus Christ as the Lord and her Saviour. Enabled by God, she and endured all the troubles and took care of children, tirelessly serving God. During her time of need, she persevered and even shared the little she could get with those in similar situation to hers that her church members nicknamed her merciful woman (“BUNTU” – in Kirundi).
Mrs Denise Nkurunziza serves God in many capacities: she is an ideal church choir member, an evangelist, a prayer warrior, a teacher of the word of God and morality, and the best mentor for sustainable and integrated community development. On 2nd July 2011, Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA was ordained Reverend Pastor. In 2000, she was prayed for as deacon, and ordained as an evangelist in the year 2005. Mrs. Denise became the First Lady of Burundi being already a mature Christian. She supports hospitals and their programs, comforts patients and supplies to their several needs without forgetting the protection of the environment, the promotion of mother-child health through family planning and birth spacing in partnership with the United Nations’ Fund for the Population – UNFPA in Burundi.
To effectively render help to the orphans, widows, the elderly, returnees, the disabled and the poor, Her Excellency Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA resolved to establish BUNTU Foundation, a philanthropic organisation named after her nickname “BUNTU – which means GRACE, HUMANITY and DIGNITY-” in November 2005. Since 2005, the integrity of the First Lady of Burundi has considerably contributed to the restoration and strengthening of the diplomatic relations between Burundi and the International Community.
Rev. Denise NKURUNZIZA is also a student who likes to educate others. She sent 27 orphans (19 young ladies and 8 Young men) to pursue their university studies (some in MBA and others doing BA programs) in India while helping many others to pursue their university in Burundi. In addition to that, 88 orphans are doing their second year in Tailoring and 51 in Hospitality Management at BUNTU Professional Training Centre of Buye.
In consideration of the vision of Her Excellency Mrs. Denise BUCUMI NKURUNZIZA, her main objective is to ensure all the younger generations are mobilized and equipped for the service of their nation and Creator for the wellbeing of each and every citizen in Burundi particular, and the entire world in general.
Since the past informs the presents to prepare the future, it is in that logic that she resolved to publish her autobiographic book “the Power of Hope/la Force d’Espérer-in French” on 9th August 2013 to prepare the younger generations for quality service of their families, churches and nations.
The First Lady’s mentorship roles and achievements include: leading big campaigns throughout and outside Burundi, aimed at bringing women to be mothers of integrity who take care of their families and children by imparting civic education to them, as they embody the hope and future of Burundi. She does not forget to hold meetings with the youth during vacations entrusting them with strong vision for the future.
- Mrs. Denise NKURUNZIZA visits hospitals, comforts patients and supplies to their several needs. She motivates vaccination campaigns for children and pregnant women, to help prevent infectious diseases.
- Like her husband, the First Lady of Burundi noticed that the country had been devastated for long and decided to mobilize people to rebuild it through community works. In addition to that, much of her efforts are geared at the protection of the environment, promotion of food security and the cleanliness of the capital Bujumbura.
- The First Lady of Burundi is a humble woman who often joins big and small farmers. She mentors the youth and joins students in the construction of houses for homeless people.