Author – Aurelie Mulolo
As an African woman and a person of Congolese descent, raised by two traditional Congolese parents, sometimes I wonder if my detachment to my home country was natural. Part of the reason may be the circumstances regarding my geographical location as I grew up; whatever it is living abroad certainly does not make me feel any closer to my roots. The career choices my parents had made when I was a child afforded us as a family to be able to travel but also move frequently. I was not born in Congo, nor was I raised there either.
I have been living abroad for most of my life, and I am left with bits and pieces of scattered memories in the short time that I did spend in Congo. The move my family made abroad was so that we could have better opportunities in education and a better quality of life that is non-existent in Congo. Almost any Congolese person that was born and raised in Congo, that I have spoken to has had a nostalgic reaction to the country, even some of my own friends that have gone back to visit after decades living abroad, always express the excitement of going back to visit once again. As I think about these reactions I am puzzled, because how can people love a country that is corrupt, has no sense of human rights, people being killed and where women are raped as a way to paralyze the population. Then it hits me that this country was not always in the state it’s in today. We were once one of the power houses in the continent of Africa; we once had a flourishing economy, a rich eco system and beautiful rainforests, and an overall “Joie de vivre” as the French would put it.
Fast forward fifty years later we are considered a third world country, more than six million people have died in a so called civil war (which is actually a war on minerals) and the whole world is watching and doing nothing. The Democratic Republic of Congo recently had a much anticipated presidential election this month. Our second attempt to a democratic election was riddled with fraud, suspicious irregularities, and nobody bothered to investigate or pursue the culprits that were responsible. When they announced that the incumbent Joseph Kabila was the winner my heart broke, I burst out in tears in the middle of work because I knew this meant another five years of death, destruction, and chaos. For a moment my hope was ripped from me because the second runner up Etienne Tshisekedi was a man the people believed in including me. I was involved in his campaign and his party “Union for Democracy and Social Progress”, hours of meetings and fundraising events flashed before my eyes.
Although I personally have no real ties to the country except my lineage, it is important to remember that it doesn’t mean one should care any less. There are hundreds and thousands of men and women and youth in the same position as I am, and for once I saw Congolese people from all walks of life, young and old take a stand to express that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! No longer will we be a nation that is passive about the future of our country; no longer will we continue to be mentally enslaved with the mindset that colonialism and imperialism has infiltrated in our human spirit. I found that my detachment was only natural because of my ignorance to the history of the land of my forefathers. My will to learn about who I was as a person, was born when I was 17 years old in my Black Literature class and I haven’t looked back since.