’s first lady releases a song to campaign against marital aggressions on infertile women in Africa
Africa News

Burundi’s first lady releases a song to campaign against marital aggressions on infertile women in Africa

…women are just more than mothers

Merck Foundation (, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany is very happy to receive such an empowering song to break the stigma around infertility in Africa and rest of the world as a contribution from the First Lady of Burundi a part of her efforts as an Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother.

The song and its video have been composed. Sung and produced by The First Lady of Burundi, H.E. DENISE NKURUNZIZA, as her special contribution to support Merck More Than a Mother campaign. The video of the song will be officially launched during the 6th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” in Accra, Ghana.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother explained, “I would like to thank Her Excellency DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi for her efforts to support us in breaking the stigma around infertility. The song communicates an important message to the society that not only women but #mentoo can be the cause of infertility.

It gives an important message that ‘fertility is a shared responsibility’ and men should support their wives during their journey for building a happy family. It also delivers Merck Foundation’s key message that ‘women are more than just mothers’.”

H.E. MADAM DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi, President of Buntu Foundation and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized “I created this song to empower infertile women and send out the message to the entire African community that infertility is not a stigma. It is my personal contribution towards Merck More Than a Mother, an important campaign by Merck Foundation”.

Merck Foundation has been working at all levels to bring in a cultural shift in the African society and has been advocating for the women who aren’t able to bear children against the discrimination, isolation and violence.

“Art has the capacity and influence to make the problem felt, which further stimulates emotions and leads to engagement and action. Hence, we used this medium to address the issue of infertility with a special focus on male infertility to encourage men to speak up about their infertility and join the journey of building a happy family with their wives. I personally believe that this song will add significant value to influence the culture change we are advocating in Burundi and rest of Africa” concluded Dr. Rasha Kelej.

In the video

The campaign video opens with a scene where a woman welcomes her husband home and invites him to sit down for dinner. The wife is violently assaulted by her husband, who still insults her, shouting: “You are good for nothing in this house. Your belly is full of beans, while the bellies of other women are full of babies.”

Burundi’s first lady, Denise Nkurunziza, 49 Years old, appears in the music video and plays the role of the couple’s conciliator in the living room. With a conciliatory and pedagogical tone, Denise explains to them: “We can only be sure about infertility after going to the doctor. Infertility can happen to both men and women.”

In the next scene, the first lady appears singing and dancing among a group of singers and dancers, while a choir sings: “Women were not created just to be mothers. They are capable of much more.”

She appeals in her campaign to husbands to support their wives. “Fertility involves two people and infertility should not be a source of conflict,” she sings in the campaign’s music video.

Her Marriage

Denise Nkurunziza has been married to President Pierre Nkurunziza since 1994. The presidential couple has five children and they have adopted several others. They are religious and organize collective meetings for prayers. The first lady, who worked as an immigration officer, is a certified pastor.

The video titled “Umukenyezi Arengeye Kuvyara Gusa” (A woman is more than her ability to give birth), shared on Whatsapp earlier this week, was the first time that Denise sang in a secular (non-religious) video.

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