Maranatha Lycee of Kivoga (Lycee Maranatha de Kivoga) is an Adventist secondary school in Mutimbuzi commune, on Mukirazuba, a hill which is 12 kilometers from the town of Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi Republic.
Since its establishment, the school has been managed by both missionaries and nationals. From 1964 to 1980 it was led by missionaries, starting with Daniel Gutekunst (1964-1976), followed by Pierre A. Ramseier (1976-1980), and finally Arnaud Corbier, whose leadership lasted only three months,3 as the government decided to nationalize all institutions managed by missionaries. The post-nationalization period lasted 12 full years.
In August 1992 the Kivoga School was returned to the church upon a signed agreement between the church and the state.4 At that time the institutional leadership was entrusted to national principals as follows: Pastor Habingabwa Uzziel (1992-1995), Nikubwayo William (1995-1996), Senkomo Elam (1996-2010), Ntirandekura Edmond (2010-2012), Buhungu Simon (2012-2015), and Sibomana Aimable (2015 to present).5
This school bore several names before becoming Maranatha Lycee of Kivoga: from 1964 to 1966, Séminaire Adventiste de l’Afrique Centrale, near Bujumbura, Burundi;6 from 1966 to 1969, Collège Adventiste de Kivoga; from 1969 to 1977, Ecole Moyenne Pédagogique Adventiste de Kivoga; from 1977 to 1983, Ecole Normale Adventiste de Kivoga; from 1983 to 1994, Collège de Kivoga; from 1994 until the present, Lycée Maranatha de Kivoga.
The school started as a church institution. The administrators and teachers were recruited and paid by the church. The school was subsidized by the church and school fees were paid by the students. The school was a boarding school for both girls and boys.
Initially the school ran an in-service ministerial training program. In 1972 it was upgraded to a full primary school and a junior teacher training college.7 After the completion of the school requirements, the graduates were qualified to teach in primary schools. At that time the pedagogy program was for one year. Later the program evolved and covered four years of social sciences, after which those who completed the four years were qualified to teach in secondary schools. Thus, the school became a full secondary school as well as a full teacher training college. Later on, additional sections were added which included science and economics.
Maranatha Lycee of Kivoga stands as an educational institution under the agreement signed between the government and the Adventist Church. Thus, the government and the church play a role in the management and running of the school. According to that agreement, land and school premises, as well as school management, belong to the church, but the school follows the education program initiated and monitored by the government. Upon suggestion of names by the church to the Ministry of Education, school administrators and teachers are recruited and paid by the government. School administrators must be Adventists and report to both the church and the Ministry of Education. However, teachers may be Adventists or non-Adventists.8
Income Generating Activities
The school owns 50 hectares of land9 which is large enough to facilitate the growth of different crops for its food security. A strong agricultural program was carried on at Kivoga before its nationalization. Several of the young people paid their way through school by working on the farm, which included an orchard, gardens, chickens, and bees.10 When the school was nationalized, its income generating activities were extended. It grew palm trees and rice, and it tried raising farm animals for their milk and meat. This is an indication of the school’s potential for building a financial self-support system.
According to the signed agreement between the government and the Adventist Church, Maranatha Lycee of Kivoga operates as a public school; but at the same time, spiritual activities of the school promote a global view of the church and its mission. After the retrocession, the school continued to “exhibit Seventh-day Adventist standards of conduct at all times.” It continued to provide teaching qualifications acceptable to the National Ministry of Education and to the Adventist Church education system. The school continues to win souls for Christ. It encourages students to accept Jesus Christ as Creator. Students also learn that they are part of a particular people. It is in this perspective that the school helps its students to get involved in the various spiritual activities organized by the school as an institution or by the local church. Those activities include: morning devotion, evening meditation, chapel meetings, religion courses, Sabbath worship, Weeks of Prayer, and evangelism campaigns.
Every morning, after hoisting the national flag, pupils are led by the appointed instructor for the day in studying the Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. It is not only an opportunity to send a message to students, but also to put them in personal contact with God through prayer. This period lasts 15 minutes. The administrator of the school, the chaplain, or the students themselves, play a role in facilitating the morning devotion.
A life of prayer is a life of victory. Getting in touch with the Word of God not only transforms the lives of students, but also influences their way of being or acting. That is why every evening the students meditate upon the Word of God. They choose for themselves one who helps them to share the divine Word. This activity is done class by class and lasts 15 minutes. On Friday evening, students meet at 6:00 p.m. to welcome the Sabbath with a special program; and at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday evening students meet again to close the Sabbath.
While the morning and the evening meditations last only 15 minutes, the chapel meeting which occurs every Sunday morning lasts one hour. The chapel meeting benefits the pupils as it gives them an opportunity to ponder the divine Word. It is the right time also to participate in intercessory prayers.
Religion Course in the Curriculum
The religion course is organized by class. Since the school is also a mission school, it is attended by students of different religious backgrounds. The chaplain helps the students to become acquainted with Bible doctrines and to learn practical Christianity. This course shares the truth which the Adventist Church teaches and strengthens the faith of the members of the community of faith. It is an important course as it helps people to live in harmony and eradicate certain problems in society.
Week of Prayer
Longer than a chapel session, the Week of Prayer takes place once a quarter and can last for one or two weeks. It has a well-defined objective to be achieved by the preacher, and it is considered a mini-evangelism campaign. During this time, a preacher from outside the school leads out in this spiritual activity. Each daily session ends with a call to make a decision for the Lord. Boxes are prepared for questions related to the subject of the day or other specific questions related to the beliefs of the Adventist Church. Those questions are collected at the end of each session and answered the next day before starting another session.
The Week of Prayer ends with a baptism. Such a week is important because it enables the Church to win many souls for Christ. For example, during the second quarter of the 2016-2017 school year, the Week of Prayer was conducted by Dr. Kessis Rei, an evangelist from the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, in Kenya. Following two weeks of meetings, 29 students were baptized. During the last five-year period, 190 students were baptized. However, during the past two years, the school did not hold a Week of Prayer because of the crisis in the Church. Despite this situation, the school won seven souls, three in the first quarter of the 2018-2019 school year, and four in the 2019-2020 school year.
Sabbath worship is conducted in the school in a way similar to that found in any Adventist Church. On Sabbath all students are required to attend church and follow the worship program. The Sabbath School program and the divine service follow the normal pattern. Generally, a call for decision is made after the divine service. The following figures show the number of pupils baptized over the past ten years.11 Among them are those who have responded to the call after the divine service.
|School Year||Number of Students||Number of Adventist Students||Number of Students Baptized|
The evangelism campaign aims to penetrate the community which is not yet reached with the Three Angels’ Messages. Various categories of students get involved in the evangelism campaign: canvassers, choirs, women’s ministry, Adventist youth, and others. All these groups working together make an impact with the support of the local church and the school.
The table below shows the role played by the school, church, and canvassers. The school reaches the community through evangelism or other activities such as distribution of books or building houses for the homeless as an expression of Jesus’ love for humankind.
Evangelism meetings conducted by the school church:12
|School Year||Location||Number of Baptized People|
Evangelism Efforts by Students Canvassers:13
Information in the above tables demonstrates that Kivoga continues to carry the mission of the Church by reaching people with the gospel. Christ is being taught inside and outside the classroom and on and off the school campus. Kivoga is an educational institution that offers a school program approved by the government and also fulfills the mission of the Church to spread the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Since its establishment, Maranatha School of Kivoga has sought to transmit moral and religious values. It has enabled young people to receive a wholistic physical, mental, spiritual, social, and professional education in accordance with the principles and ideals of the Adventist Church. The institution lost its status as a private school when the state nationalized it for a decade. During the nationalization period, Adventist students were forced to attend classes on Sabbath, and those who remained faithful were dismissed from the school. When the state returned control of the school to the Church, it became an educational institution that holds to the school program of the government, while maintaining the spiritual activities by which it remains attached to the Adventist Church.
Arrêt en Audience Publique du 21/01/2019 de La Cour Spéciale des Terres et Autres Biens siégeant à Bujumbura en Chambre d’Appel. A copy in the author’s private collection.
Association des Eglises Adventistes du Septième Jour au Burundi, Aperçu Historique du Collège Adventiste de Kivoga. Unpublished document in the author’s private collection.
Brown, Walton J. Chronology of Seventh-day Adventist Education, Century of Adventist Education, 1872-1972. Department of Education of Seventh-day Adventists, 1972.
Ministère de l’Enseignement Primaire et Secondaire. Recueil des Lois et Règlements scolaires de l’Enseignement Primaire et Secondaire, Bujumbura, Octobre 1991.
Parks, P. A. “Kivoga College-a Light Shining in Burundi.” ARH, June 9, 1977.
Association des Eglises Adventistes du Septième Jour au Burundi, Aperçu Historique du Collège Adventiste de Kivoga (unpublished document in the author’s private collection), 1.↩
P. A. Parks, “Kivoga College-a Light Shining in Burundi,” ARH, June 9, 1977, 15.↩
Habingabwa Uzziel, retired pastor and former Burundi Association president, interview by author, November 8, 2020.↩
Ministère de l’Enseignement Primaire et Secondaire, Recueil des Lois et Règlements scolaires de l’Enseignement Primaire et Secondaire, Bujumbura, Octobre 1991, 121-125.↩
Kivoga School Archives.↩
Walton J. Brown, Chronology of Seventh-Day Adventist Education, a Century of Adventist Education, 1872-1972 (Department of Education of Seventh-day Adventists, 1972), 50.↩
Ministère de l’Enseignement Primaire et Secondaire, Recueil des Lois et Règlements Scolaires de l’Enseignement Primaire et Secondaire, 121-125.↩
Arrêt en Audience Publique du 21/01/2019 de La Cour Spéciale des Terres et Autres Biens siégeant à Bujumbura en Chambre d’Appel, 33.↩
Kivoga School Church Records.↩