My name is Furaha Mussanzi; I am a 23 year old Masters student in African Peace and Conflict studies at the Bradford University. Prior to doing this Masters, I did my undergraduate in Interior Design at Liverpool John Moores University, where I got heavily involved in pursuing activism in a few social justice issues in my spare time and in my final year, myself and a few other students organised a week long campaign to raise awareness about the Congo crisis, as part of the annual Congo Week movement! It was the most challenging and rewarding highlight of my university life, and it was in one of the last evaluation sessions that a student in the room said what would change everything, it went something like this: “a lot of us here are aware that these things (injustices/war/hunger/ etc.) happen in the world, but not many people step out to do something about it, all you’ve got to do is just go out there”. That was it. Short and sweet, but those words had unveiled a deeply seated passion in me that was just waiting for the perfect time to burst out. Thereafter graduating, I embarked on an internship as a Community Organiser with my local Church St James in the city for a year which was such an eye opening opportunity that helped me to nurture my passion in a practical way.
Here’s a little something I’ve put together, imaging DR Congo, I hope you enjoy my contribution to the blog!
Imagine a Congo that is not synonymous to conflict, or the heart of the darkness
I wonder if you can
A prosperous country, able to fend for its citizens’ basic needs
Not plundered and raped for the good of the rich and powerful
A humble servant for a leader, one who truly deeply loves my beloved country
NOT the greed for power
No need for child–soldiers,
Where the only weapon they possess is a pen, not an AK 47
But rather an opportunity for education, so the young can not only dream of a better future but come to watch its reality unfolding in front of their very eyes
Imagine no tribal tension,
Where communities of people, from every tongue live in harmony
Imagine freedom, the ability for one to express themselves,
Being able to participate, to share, to give and to receive
Living the Ubuntu dream
Imagine peace, where people can sleep without fear of attack
Imagine; just imagine a Congo where women and girl’s bodies are not brutally abused as a systematic strategy of war
Where they too can exercise their right and speak out of the unspeakable trauma they have endured, physically, mentally and psychologically
Imagine Democracy, where people are free to choose their leader
Imagine Justice, where perpetrators are no longer operating with impunity
Imagine development, where the country can begin to finally move forward
Because the future is bright…only to those who can dare to dream such dreams
DR Congo has been bruised for far too long, exploited for her riches
Her children, well they are left for ruin.
Scattered all across the globe…longing for the day they will feel her warm embrace again
Longing to see long lost family and friends, who have become the product of war
Sleepless nights, crying for freedom – anticipating change, praying
Praying so hard, for only God is their source of Hope.
Hope is what keeps them going, when all around them is failing; they look up to the sky
And envy the dove, which flies so freely up there as if it had no care in the world,
As if it had no clue what hell they have to live in,
But then, it dawns on them – that the only hands God has is ours
That WE are the only ones who can make a difference
So today, in the midst of their darkest hour,
They weep, but are reminded that ‘Joy will come in the morning’
So they press on, taking each day as it comes.
Confronting the multitude of issues they face each day,
And certain, more than convinced that the day will come,
When ALL men will be free
It’s been 12 years, I miss thee DR Congo. One day, we will meet again,
And I know you will heal my brokenness heart
Imagine the youths of DRC carrying a pen and not an AK47. I attended the event #CrisisIntheCongo and it was filled with sad stories that brought tears to my eyes. I pray Furaha’s dreams become reality.