Nicholas Kotei Djanie and Lena Slachmuijlder
Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa
Nicholas Kotei Djanie and Lena Slachmuijlder worked toward reconciliation in divided communities through African drumming, music and song. Nicholas a master drummer, dancer, teacher and performer is currently performing in Drumstuck in New York City. Lena a musician, cultural facilitator and an experienced radio and print journalist, currently directs Search For Common Ground's project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While Brandeis International Fellow in 2002-2003, she directed "Studio Ijambo," a radio station affiliated with the organization Search for Common Ground in Burundi. In recent years, they both contributed to a four-day peace festival in Burundi, and Nicholas collaborated with the Rwandan National Olympic Ballet to create a dance-drama telling the story of the Rwandan genocide and the efforts underway towards reconciliation. They wrote: "We both believe, based on our experiences, in the creative and spiritual power of drumming, song and dance to transform individuals and communities, deal with trauma, and facilitate the process of reconciliation around the unity of rhythm." During the Fellowship, they documented and thought critically about their on-going work in Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa, particularly addressing questions about how participation in drumming, music, dance experiences and performances affect relationships, the development of trust, and personal and communal healing.
Working Paper by Lena Slachmuijlder: "The Rhythm of Reconciliation: A Reflection on Drumming as a Contribution to Reconciliation Processes in Burundi and South Africa"
Portfolio by Nicholas Kotei Djanie: "Drumming Brings Up the Spirit"