Over the past week, it was hard to find an article published in a major international press outlet not looking at the build-up to today’s presidential elections through the lens of fear and/of violence. With the exception of a few, most foreign journalists didn’t make it outside of Kinshasa (citing logistical problems). People did get killed in the Congolese capital on Saturday, and in Lubumbashi today, but the way this violence creeped into the international headlines clouds the calm and smoothness of the election process in other parts of the countries, as reported by Congolese citizen journalists on their blogs, in their local papers, or on their Facebook pages. Congo is more than two cities. Other journalists tackled it from afar: The Financial Times, for example, is reporting the #DRC elections from Nairobi? That’s 2 days driving to Kinshasa.

For reports by local journalists outside Kinshasa, read Now AfriCAN (North Kivu), Local Voices (Bunyakiri, South Kivu), Mutaani FM (also in Kivu), Radio Okapi (MONUSCO’s website and radio channel) and Le Congo. (If you want images and reports from Kinshasa other than the foreign ones, there is Lingala Facile.) And when the votes have been counted by the end of the week, refocus on what’s happening outside the Congolese political theatre. Change won’t come from the government. Most Congolese realized a long time ago. Ask the rapper Alesh. In the video and song below he calls out the country’s politicians “qui concoctent dans le noir” [plotting in the shadows] and urges his fellow countrymen (“all heirs to Patrice Lumumba”) to wake up: “Instead of growing old with analysis, I dare to obstruct those who dream of paralyzing [Congo].”

Further Reading

Resonant music

The film “Africa Mia” (2019), directed by Richard Minier and Edouard Salier, explores the musical connections between Cuba and Mali.

Wyuyata’s story

While Sierra Leone has come very far in its fight against sexual violence the question of safeguarding victims especially children needs urgent attention.

The politics of elegance

German historian Daniel Tödt wrote a history of the Congolese évolués. In this interview, he talks about the historiographical interventions of his book and the role of Patrice Lumumba in the history of évolués.

Bring Patrice Lumumba home

The return of Patrice Lumumba’s remains must not be an occasion for Belgium to congratulate itself, but for a full accounting of the colonial violence that led to the assassination and coverup.

Back from Safari

If you hadn’t noticed, we were on our annual break from just before Christmas 2021 until now. We are back, including with some inspiration.