Not born to be refugee

Bote Shepo


South Africa is one of the countries in Africa that have the biggest amount of African refugees from different African countries. Among them Somalians, Zimbabweans and Congolese (from the DRC) have considerable numbers according to the statistics.

It is appreciable to show hospitality to someone who is seeking asylum; but to understand why that person is in such a situation and to find out how to help him to change that particular situation is more important. Our current mission is to  explain to South African people in few words why the Congolese refugees number is still growing and how this situation can be changed.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in 

Africa, situated right in the center of the continent with 9 neighboring countries. It is the richest country in the world containing all important minerals (copper, zing, cobalt, gold, diamond, coltan…). Coltan is the most used mineral in the electronic industry, and almost 80% of its production comes from the DRC.

Congolese people like any other people in the world were not born to live as refugees. And it was never crossing their mind 30 years ago while they were facing the oppressive power of J D Mobutu. The massive movement of Congolese people to South Africa came in 1996 with the war  initiated by the AFDL ( Alliance des Force Démocratiques pour la Liberation) lead by Laurent Desire kabila with the help of Rwandian army to chasse Mobutu from his long lasting power. Since then, a chain of war had followed creating an unsecure situation all over the Country.

Then came, in 2000, the oppressive regime of Joseph Kabila that couldn’t fight different rebellions spread over the country like mushrooms and the aggression of the country by Rwandan and Ugandan army on the East.

The oppressive regime at the head of the state, the uncontrolled army’s groups (Mai Mai, FDLR, Raïa Mutombo Kati, …) in the county and the Rwando-Ugandan aggression on the East side of the country creates a system that frustrate and insecure the Congolese people. And until this system is not replaced by a more convenient one, Congolese people will still be leaving unwillingly their country to seek asylum anywhere in the world.

One could say “leaving the country is not a solution”. Yes, but you have to be in someone shoes to understand their situation.

Congolese people wherever they are going, are raising their voice to denounce what is happening in their country. They have sent hundreds of memorandums to different governments around the world showing the need to see their country in peace. 

The latest was the Congolese demonstrations against the rig on the last presidential elections in November 2011 that brought to power a contested government.

It appears clearly that Congolese people are fighting to make their situation right. At the same time they have noticed that there is a  wide international system that is supporting the contested Congolese government. These conspirators are causing wounds that the Congolese people will not easily forget as Lumumba once said: “That was our lot for the eighty years of colonial rule and our wounds are too fresh and much too painful to be forgotten,…, Morning, noon and night we were subjected to jeers, insults and blows because we were “Negroes”,…, We have seen our lands seized in the name of ostensibly just laws, which gave recognition only to the right of might. We have not forgotten that the law was never the same for the white and the black, that it was lenient to the ones, and cruel and inhuman to the others. We have experienced the atrocious sufferings, being persecuted for political convictions and religious beliefs, and exiled from our native land: our lot was worse than death itself. We have not forgotten …”

Adding to these wounds, the current situation, Congolese people will never forget.



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