Burundi(landmass 27,834 km2), capital Bujumbura,  is a landlocked country located between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. It is one of the world's poorest nations and has 10,162,532 inhabitants. Burundi is internationally famous for its Royal Drummers  whose skills are passed from father to son - the drums represent Burundi's tradition of fertility and rebirth. La Pierre de Livingstone et Stanley commemorates the 1871 meeting between British explorer Dr David Livingstone and the journalist Henry Stanley. With a length of 660 km, Lake Tanganyika  is the world's longest freshwater lake. It is the home of 350 species of fish.


Belgium (capital Brussels) is a European country that covers an area of 30,528 km2 ; it is bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxemburg and France. It has a coast on the North Sea. 11,195,138 people live in Belgium and the two official languages are Flemish-Dutch and Wallon-French. It is home of the frst spa-town visited as far as the 14th C, and it is called Spa. The Atomium is a 102 m high landmark outside Brussels and it is in the shape of an enlarged iron-crystal. In 1927, Georges Lemaitre, a physicist and a priest developed a theory about the beginning of the universe as a giant cosmic egg exploding at the moment of creation. Fred Hoyle derided the idea and called it 'Big Bang Theory' and the name stuck. Belgian food is famous for its waffles, chocolate, sprouts, fries, mussels and beer. The Belgians perfected the French fries recipe by double-frying them - 'Fritkots' are mobile chip shops. 

B - Zebras themes in B

The Bambara are a Mande people who live in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Empire in the 13th C. Both Manding and Bambara are part of the Mande ethnic group, whose earliest known history can be traced back to sites near Tichitt (now West-Sahara and Mauritania).Growing from farming communities in Ouassoulou, between Sikasso and the Ivory Coast, Bamana fraternities called 'Tons' developped a state structure which became the Bambara Empire and later the Mali Empire based in Segou. The state created the Jonton (Jon = slave/kjell-slave), or slave warrior caste, replenished by warriors captured in battle. While slaves were excluded from inheritance, the Jonton leaders forged a strong corporate identity. Their raids fed the Segu economy with goods and slaves for trade, and bonded agricultural laborers who were resettled by the state.The Banama state practised and formalised polytheistic religion. The Bamana became the dominant cultural community in western Mali.
In addition to its general use as a reference to an ethno-linguistic group, Bambara was also used to identify captive Africans who originated in the interior of Africa perhaps from the upper Senegal-Niger region and transported to the Americas via ports on the Senegambian coast. . As early as 1730 at the slave-trading post of Gorée, the term Bambara referred simply to slaves who were already in the service of the local elites or French. The Bambaran language is mutually intelligible with Manding and Dyula, and is now one of the official languages of the state alongside French. Regardless of ethnicity, 80% of people in Mali speak Bambara. Although most Bamana today adhere to Islam, many still practise the traditional rituals, especially in honoring ancestors. This form of  Islam remains rare, even allowing for conversions that in many cases happened in the mid to late 19th century. This recent history, though, contributes to the richness and fame (in the West) of Bamana ritual arts. Bamana artistic traditions include pottery, sculpture, weaving, iron figures and masks . Some of which are created for the art market.

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(photo: barcode zebra by Tim Flach)