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Jeremy Rich

Burundian queen mother and political leader, was born sometime in the mid-nineteenth century in the kingdom of Burundi. Her full name was Nidi Ririkumutima Bizama Hitanzimiza Mwezi. She was married to Mwezi Gisabo, the king of Burundi, just as German forces finally reached the kingdom in the mid-1890s. Mwezi Gisabo held off the limited efforts by German officers to defeat his kingdom through military force, but he finally accepted German authority on 6 June 1903 in the Treaty of Kiganda. Ririkumutima was Mwezi Gisabo’s favorite wife. She bore him four sons: Karabona, Bishinga, Nduwumwe, and Bangura. She held a great deal of power in her own right. According to oral accounts, she intervened on behalf of a man falsely accused by members of the royal court. Ririkumutime demanded that the case be judged by the Bashingantahe royal council, who acquitted the man of the charges.

After Mwezi Gisabo s death ...