Linguistic and Cultural Communication Difficulties in Congolese Refugee camps in Burundi

Authors: Irankeje Fiacre (University of Burundi, Bujumbura)
Speakers: Irankeje Fiacre
Topic: Ethnography of Communication
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


This study investigated linguistic and cultural communication problems in Congoleses’refugee camp in Burundi where refugees and staff members are from different cultural backgrounds. The specific objectives that underpined the research are: to investigate linguistic and cultural challenges in Musasa camp in Ngozi province (about 8000 refugees) and Kinama camp in Muyinga province (about 7000 refuges), and suggest solutions in order to overcome these challenges. The theories that underpin this study are Communication Theory, Communication Accommodation Theory and Sociocultural Theory. Data was analysed using content analysis and thematic approach. The results show that respondents indicated lack of effective communication and difficulty in learning Kirundi as challenges in the camp. The results also show that Burundi plays a significant role in solving these challenges through policy of good neighbourliness as mentioned by participants. The study recommends regular language trainings, public awareness campaigns about integration and good neighbourliness and the use of interpreters in order to overcome linguistic and cultural communication problems in the camps.

Linguistics, Culture, Intercultural Communication, Congolese refugees’ camps