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DRC uprising, repression and solidarity, 5 February

Speakers: Baruti Amisi, Brain Amza and Jacky Kabidu
Date: Thursday, 5 February 2015
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College, UKZN

As South Africa contemplates heating up the war on the east side of the Democratic Republic of the Congro, dozens of protesters - especially students demanding democracy - were shot dead in Kinshasa two weeks ago. They opposed the Kabila regime's intent on clinging to power, and the protests did force a retraction of despised legislation to prolong Joseph Kabila's rule. To understand the DRC's current plight requires returning to colonialism and the Western-supported Mobutu dictatorship (1965-1995), which set the stage for the murder of more than five million residents of the eastern DRC. Mobutu's replacement by Laurent Kabila and, following his assassination, by his son Joseph, did not resolve the structural problems, and in some ways amplified them because of the ongoing power struggle over resources. Multinational corporations are the main beneficiaries of the Resource Cursing of the DRC, a problem which will be exacerbated by the world's largest development project, the $100 billion Inga dam on the Congo River, whose electricity will mainly be directed to mining. One aspect of economic violence and the breakdown of social coherence is sexual domination, including massacres, rapes and the re-emergence of child soldiers. Can the horrors the DRC has faced be replaced by a society grounded in values of morals, equity, respect for human rights, unity and peace?

Baruti Amisi is a PhD candidate at CCS and a leader of the KwaZulu-Natal Refugee Council. Brian Minga Amza is a Congolese student at Durban University of Technology and an executive committee member of the Congolese Solidarity Campaign. He is also founder and coordinator of the Florence Foundation, and has long been involved in empowering young Congolese in rural areas. Jacky Kabidu holds a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies from UKZN; she has been involved in teaching for several years; and is founder of the Congolese Solidarity Campaign.

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