Since 1997, the war in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has taken more than 6 million lives and shapes the daily existence of the nation’s residents. While the DRC is often portrayed in international media as an unproductive failed state, the Congolese have turned increasingly to art-making to express their experience to external eyes. Author Chérie Rivers Ndaliko argues that cultural activism and the enthusiasm to produce art exists in Congo as a remedy for the social ills of war and as a way to communicate a positive vision of the country. Ndaliko introduces a memorable cast of artists, activists, and ordinary people from the North-Kivu province, whose artistic and cultural interventions are routinely excluded from global debates that prioritize economics, politics, and development as the basis of policy decision about Congo.
Chérie Rivers Ndaliko is a professor in the Music Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and co-director of the Yole!Africa cultural center in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.