Monday, June 26, 2017

Cultural center warns against DRC’s move to silence artists’ voices

For Immediate Release

Goma – Monday 26 th 2017. The Nyavu Network, regrouping 7 cultural centers across the Great Lakes region and southern Africa calls for the immediate release of four artists detained by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.

On Friday June 23 rd , photographer Mugabo Baritegera, visual artist Benito Mupenzi, In situ performance installator Precy Numbi and Taylor Ndungo were arrested during a live performance calling for the end of the ongoing massacres in the regions of Beni (eastern DRC) and Kasaï (centre of the country). The live exhibition was going on at Signers crossroad, in the town of Goma, capital of North Kivu province.

"These artists and many of us who work through art and creativity in this country are trying to foster positive open dialogue in a moment when we need to come together in peace and cooperation. Silencing the art voices now is like stifling a nonviolent and cooperation voice" said internationally acclaimed filmmaker and activist Petna Ndaliko Katondolo, Director and Co-Founder of Yole!Africa, member of the Nyavu Network.

The four artists have been transferred to Goma central prison and waiting for their trial. Since August 2016, the death of Kasaï traditional leader Kamwena Nsapu in fighting with security forces deteriorated into a violent conflict that has claimed lives of more than 3 000 people, according to the Catholic Church. The UN discovered more than 42 mass graves in the region in the region and counted more than 1.3 millions internally displaced people as the result of the conflict.

Civil society and human rights organizations have been calling for an independent investigation to clarify responsibilities in the violence; a call that doesn’t resonate with DRC government.

“In a country that has been torn by conflict for decades, silencing nonviolent artists will reinforce among youth the dangerous perception that violence is the only language to be heard” added Mr. Ndaliko.

Being a member of the Nyavu Network, Yole!Africa, an organization that has been promoting nonviolent activism in DRC since 15 years, serving more than 17 000 youth, is closely following hopes that the government will engage in a more cooperative process when dealing with artists speaking out for the general masses.

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For further details or book an interview, please, contact Gaius Kowene via
email or call +243 973 95 00 95.


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