Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo – Dance battles have replaced gun battles in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, less than one year after the national army defeated headline-grabbing M23 rebels. In its ninth edition, the Salaam Kivu International Film Festival (SKIFF) brought together dancers, musicians, fashion designers and traditional poets in celebration of Congolese culture. Their goal? To channel the energy of the youth into arts, not conflict. Their slogan? “Tutajenga ao?” – “Will we build or destroy?” in Kiswahili.
Dieudonne Dunia Kangwindi, an aspiring rap artist who has just returned from a trip to neighbouring Kigali to record an album, sums up this sentiment. “It’s us, the youth, who must construct the new Africa,” he says. “If our ancestors had problems, it’s not for us to continue them,” he adds, talking of current difficulties between DR Congo and Rwanda. “We have to fight for reconciliation. We must think of the future. read more