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​© 2019 thomas de wouters

My photography is necessarily an interpretation of reality, subjective, but it captures instants of life without ever trying to distort it by an artificial construction

 

New Congo

‘New-Congo’, Lumumba's Dream or future Citizen Reality?

The postponement of the elections seems to have been overcome and Kabila further strengthens his position as President-dictator. Far from the dream of Lumumba, is this its end?

 

In Congo, bigger and richer country of sub-Saharan Africa, takes place the future of Africa.

At the time of social networks, non-political citizen movements strengthen, from the 'Balai Citoyen' in Burkina Faso to 'La Lucha' in the DR Congo via 'Y en a marre' in Senegal and 'Ça suffit comme ça!’ in Gabon: all struggle for a more just society. The struggle seems to be uneven but mobilization is growing. Five years already that militates La Lucha.

 

“No hostages of the past. Neither slaves of the present. Neither beggars of our future”

 

On 28 September 2016, I meet Fred Bauma, just out of Makala prison (Kinshasa) after 18 months of detention. Fred is in Brussels to testify before flying away to be received to the US Congress. December 15th, I land in Goma the day the Congo closes its air corridors and refuses the landing of a Belgian C130, four days before the election day.

 

The images plunge the public into the reality of those who live and struggle for the advent of a new Congo. This Congo dreamed by Patrice Lumumba, a Congo of Freedom, Justice, Peace, a Prosperous Congo, a truly Independent Congo. Aware of the misfortune that plagues Africa, corruption, La Lucha is structured from its inception without leader but highly organized. We are at the heart of this Ghandi-inspired citizen movement, non-violent, non-partisan, non-hierarchical, made up of young people of any social groups, origins and religions, who share the same desire for change. “La Lutte pour le changement. La Lucha.”

 

But at what price ... in the interrogation rooms of the ANR (National Intelligence Agency) always the same questions, always the same answers. "We are the change that the Congo is waiting for. Wherever unreason abounds, reason ought to be superfluous." In a country where one dies of thirst on the water's edge, where one breaks poverty in a fertile nature and shouts at Poverty beside mountains of gold, diamonds or copper, when injustice is the rule, resistance becomes a law." (ext. Lucha, ext. M. Séguier).

 

Prison, blows and wounds, mockeries, extortion ... there is a price to pay for this vital struggle. Congo will change by the Congoleses, not by those other gods that are the UN, NGOs, foreign powers ...

RD Congo, December 2016 - May 2017