Congolese movements are intimately connected with many global movements. Major elements of Congo make it central in the movement for Climate Justice. In speaking of the Congo crisis in 1964, Malcolm X astutely made the connection between the challenges of the Congo and those that Black people face in the United States. He said in a speech at the Audubon Ballroom that “as long as we think – that we should get Mississippi straightened out before we worry about the Congo, you’ll never get Mississippi straightened out – not until you start realizing your connection with the Congo.” Malcolm reminds us that our fate is connected. We maintain as long as Black Lives are devalued anywhere in the world, they will be devalued everywhere in the world.
Check out our Valuing Black Life post for more of FOTC’s perspective
Like most countries on the African continent, the DRC is predominantly a young country with a median age of 17 years old and youth are leading. Friends of the Congo has worked with youth leaders throughout the DRC to provide intellectual, material and financial support as the they strive to create a new society grounded in peace, justice and human dignity.
The future of the DRC rests in the hands of its teeming youth population, a large percentage of whom resides in the capital city of Kinshasa whose residents are estimated to be around 12 million. It was in Kinshasa in 2015 that the youth rose to the forefront of those demanding justice and a different future than the status quo. They lived in a state of harsh repression, abject poverty and devastating unemployment. When the administration at that time sought to extend its stay in power through changing the electoral laws, the youth descended into the streets to protest. Many of them lost their lives, some were jailed and others fled into exile. The uprising in 2015 was dubbed the Telema movement. The bravery and courage of Congo’s youth was documented in an award winning film by Congolese filmmaker, Dieudou Hamdi entitled “Kinshasa Makambo.”
For more historical, social and political context, the 30 minute film Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering The Truth helps elevate consciousness about the interconnections and unveils analysis and prescriptions by leading experts, practitioners, activists, and intellectuals. The full film can be viewed here.
Check out the trailer here.
Congolese youth, like many youth throughout Africa, particularly deeply desire change and hope for the future. Their struggles against repressive governments and their security forces are not fundamentally different from youth-led movements in the United States and the Americas. Heeding the words of the brilliant revolutionary, Frantz Fanon, African youth throughout the globe are discovering their destiny and are in the midst of fulfilling it with the expectation of bringing about fundamental and lasting change for future generations.
Friends of the Congo, is honored to collaborate with Congo Love and the Andree Blouin Center in Kinshasa to support the larger youth movement through the Lumumba Scholars program. The network of Congolese youth leaders around the country is deepening and expanding while strengthening their connections with other youth organizing around the world.
Check out our Get Involved page to learn how your time and talents can help strengthen the movement.