Malebo international film festival 2016 at the Dalston Roof Park in Dalston

4th May 2016

Over the last summer, from May to September, the young Congolese community has organized a film festival, screening Congolese films every first Wednesday of the month at the Dalston Roof Park, in Hackney.

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I was there during the “Elephant’s Dream” documentary screening. The movie, directed by Kristof Bilsen, describes three State-owned institutions running on their last legs and their workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The difficult reality of Kinshasa is presented through different but interconnected daily lives: a women who works at the central post office, two colleagues at the railway station, and the group of firemen in the only fire station of the capital.

The Dalston Roof Park, close to the Dalston CLR James Library, is an interesting hip-pub for summertime. It has a tine-cute chilling area  on one side and a more spacious dance floor on the other side. Both spots offer a great view on the city. Despite the place gets normally very crowded during the weekend, especially if the hot English weather, that night has been a relaxed one. The event has mostly attracted young Congolese, which seemed to know each other from before. I could have some informal chats with few of them and build up connections with two poets which will become my informants as the research goes on.

 

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Commemorating Mama Masika at the Church of St Mary and St Michael in Shadwell

19th March 2016

Rebecca Masika Katsuva, better known as ‘Mama Masika’, was a Congolese human rights campaigner who deeply helped the victims of war and rape in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. A month after her death, a group of London based Congolese activists organized an afternoon of commemoration. The event was held in a indoor place beside the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary and St Michael, in Shadwell, and more then 50 Congolese were attending.

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Together with religious and political discussion, the community remembered Mama Masika with poetry and songs.

                        Photo credit to Letitia Kamayi

The first picture portrays Mell Nyoko, a young Congolese spoken word artist and writer, while is performing two of her English tribute poems. The second picture portrays Natasha Makengo, a young Congolese singer, while is singing a touching French solo without any instrumental accompaniment. Their charismatic performances were very much appreciated by the Congolese audience.