Darkness of Kinshasa

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
the story of the Congolese people

Submitted: March 02, 2017

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Submitted: March 02, 2017



It’s 6 AM, and the city already awakes. The sweet melody of birds has been replaced by the chaotic sounds, coming from the people screams and the car horns.screams and the car horns.

On the sides of the roads, masses and masses of men, women, and children are desperately waiting for the old decrepit minivans, painted with the colors of the Congolese flag, to stop and bring them to their multiple destinations. One driver has parked in the middle of the road, not caring about the other conductors yelling vulgarities at him. He is making money; time is more valuable than security. security. The traffic light is green, but it does not mean anythingThe cars remain immobile in the middle of the road.


“But what are you waiting for.”

“It’s this idiot, move, you!”

“You asshole move, move, move.”


“Hey, you move now,” said the police officer hitting the car.


Binza Pigeon here.”

“Ngombe, Macampagne here.”

It is time to run for a place in the minivan, it is time to find a way to survive.

The drivers of those decrepit cars have to bring enough people to their destinations so that they can eat tomorrow. They are in a constant hurry to reach the terminuses, and this without respecting the rules of the road. The rules do not apply to them. Survival is a need to never questioned, and no self-invented principles of righteousness or wrongness can alleviate their constant need to defeat time itself.

Ndjili, Kitambo, Ndjili 1000 FC.,” said a minivan driver

Fifteen people are piling into the minivan, like sardines in a can. They feel oppressed by the rape of their personal space, incapable of moving without feeling the touch of another body. Men, women, children are on top of one another in a confined space made only for five persons. In the confusion of a typical day in Kinshasa, individuals of both genders and all ages are trying to find the most comfortable position for a trip that will certainly take hours before they can finally reach their homes.

Their “houses” are in the peripheries of Kinshasa, in zones where the smell has made the air unbreathable, and tons of detritus have piled up into mountains of waste blocking the light of the sun. Next to the building of pollution, the houses are standing. The Congolese people constructed those houses with old large metallic pieces that they found in the daily quests they took in the dump. However, they remain in their castle, the only valuable thing they will never have.

Even though the Congolese live like forgotten vestiges of an immersed ship, they only desire one thing: to go home as soon as possible, hoping to find the old television on and water running from the sink, which is in the back of the house. live like forgotten vestiges of an immersed ship, they only desire one thing: to go home as soon as possible, hoping to find the old television on and water running from the sink, which is in the back of the house. There is little hope for it. The electricity went off last week and did not come back since. As for the water, it’s a luxury that no one dares ask for in his prayers anymore.

Back in the Russian roulette game with Destiny, a game that they all played each time they got in those hazardous cars, the passengers are desperate to go home before the sunset. Who would not be?

Kulunas get out of their holes and start their crimes. Those teenagers were once innocent children, but the darkness of superstitions and the power of the churches had transformed them into punks of the worst kind. The violence made them only shadows of their former selves, ready to do anything for the pleasure of greed. They are wolves of the night, screaming at the full moon their passion for blood, calling the spirits to help them get someone tonight.

In the dark, behind the walls of the building of pollution, they are waiting for those men they will kill or beat to death for a couple of francs. Blood for blood the spirits are waiting.

“We must go home; we must hide from the night.”

The passengers inside the deteriorating minivans can never afford even the most derelict car. They have to train their bodies to stand the suffocating heat in those vehicles, each day, repeating the same journey with no guarantee to be the winner the next time. There is no other option for them.

It is the middle of the raining season, and the heat is making the air difficult to breathe. When the passengers enter through the sliding doors, the wind becomes the only source of breathable air, making the journey in those confined spaces somewhat bearable again. Looking through the door, the passengers start to see a dark mirage; the cars are gradually reducing their speed. The traffic is ahead of us; the traffic light has turned red.

The fresh breeze is gone. There is no more air in the vehicle, and the only things left are the mix of different odors emitting from the passenger’s bodies.

The 15 people inside that minivan are children, women, and men who had to fight to get one of the limited places. They feel their bodies touching one another, balanced by the motion of the vehicle. The large holes on the streets make the shortest distance appear as long as a journey through the unpredictable dusty roads of the jungle. But why complain when you won a fight against people as desperate as you are to go home before the darkness ?


Kabila.” said Lambert Mende, the prime minister of communication, in an interview with RFI(Radio France International).

“We cannot organize the election this year due to the monetary deficit and the lack of financial support necessary to register voters.” said Mende.

I was in my mother’s car when I heard the news; they were planning to delay the elections, pretending that the modification of the constitution was the only solution to their inability to organize the next one. My mom was in a middle of a conversation with me when she looked at me shocked by the words she had just heard.

“The people cannot take it anymore,” she said.

“They won’t let them go with it, after what he had done to your father, putting him in jail without any real reason, because he was trying to express his right; you will see. They will pay for it,” said my mother.

“He is one of the few to fight for what he believed in. The government will never stop him when he will be freed, he will continue his fight for justice.” she said (light)

I know mom, but I don’t understand them

“They expect people to let them do whatever they want. People hate Kabila; they will walk on the streets, that I can assure you.” I said.

There was traffic in front of us. The cars started to slow down when we heard the sirens.

As soon as we heard them, my mother, as well as the other drivers, parked on the side of the road to let the “excellence” pass with all the honor of his status.

No hands rose at his passage, no one waved at him, and no one screamed words of joy; only the car’s sirens were filling the ominous silence.

The eight vehicles, with one hiding the president, were speeding one after the other in front of us. On the back of the four black pickups were the soldiers wearing red berets, the typical green uniform of our troops, and black glasses hiding their faces. They looked invincible.

The soldiers, the image of a pride of a country, were heavily armed with lance rockets and rifles they were holding ready to react to any suspicious behavior. However, they were not simple soldiers. No, these were the “red ants” (recognized by the red berets on their heads), demons of the night. They could have killed you without fearing for their liberties and lives.Some of them were Congolese soldiers, but it was frequent to see Rwandaises, Angolensis and Tanzanians mercenaries holding the guns to protect him.Those men had all the rights in Kinshasa. They did not hesitate to take anything they thought had value from the people. Even the children of the streets were victims of their violence. Regularly, these soldiers were hitting the boys begging on the streets and sexually abusing of the girls left alone on the streets. They had no respect for life, no respect for God. These red ants were the protectors of a self-made god. They were the ants eating from the left over of the king’s feast, for as long as they could help him remain in power.

This self-made god was named Kabila. He was the king of a world that could not stand his snobbery anymore. The world that was counting the days it had left under his reign.

“He will pay for what he is doing to this country, one day he will pay,” said my mom before she got back on the road.

It’s November 10, 2015, a couple of days after the announcement. The parliament has called the members of the government to discuss the potential modification of the electoral calendar. The plan of the majority is to move the election from 2016 to 2018 so that President Kabila can stay in power for three more years.The opposition is fighting with all their strengths against the evil plan, screaming their rage to each deputies supporting the godlike president. At the same time, people are organizing protests on the streets, uttering their hate for a government that is again playing games with their lives.

“Kabila, your mandate is over; know that” They are singing.

The people are burning tires on the streets, and smoke plumes are darkening the horizon. The protesters are gathering palm leaves that they place on the road. No one is driving today. (In Kinshasa, it is the way to indicate to people that the roads are closed and used for the March.) The city is declared dead: The schools, shops, and offices are all closed, and no one dares to go out. The city is not safe anymore. On the streets, not a soul, only the Protestants are there to express their opposition to a dictator’s plan.

(know that your mandate is over) “ is written on the banderoles.

They remain peaceful, avoiding anything that could compromise the purity of their cause. They know that the red ants are coming. It’s time to gather the stones that will be the only defenses they will have against guns.

On the side of the burning tires, the young men are holding hands and singing, from the bottom of their hearts, their love for the Congo.

they are full of red ants. The young men are still walking together, trying to remain united in front of the malicious military force. The first gunshot resounds, and the boys start to run in each direction before gathering again. They insult those monsters with rage on their faces. Some of the Protesters are beginning to throw rocks at the red ants; however, the rocks only had the effects to enrage them even more.

Eyes on fire; the red ants are engaging in their favorite tactics of dispersion, throwing toxic gas at the Protesters, hoping to disperse them long enough to stop the unrest.

“Keep shooting at those idiots.” said someone on the walkie-talkie


The first Protester has fallen on the ground. He is bleeding out; his friends cannot do anything for him. His life is seeping from his body.

“We need to leave. They are going to kill us.”


“Run run run.”

“No more mercy. If they don’t leave, shoot them all,” said a voice on a walkie-talkie.

According to the official government report, 20 people died that day, but in the Congo, you can never be sure; there could be more. The red ants had taken a lot of bodies when they left the streets. No proof, no crime. No crime, no punishment.

These unarmed young men, expressing one of the most important constitutional rights, were treated like animals, so the self-made god of the Congo could maintain his power over the destinies of an entire nation. However, despite the uncertainty of each day, they used the light in their hearts to fight for the love of their country. They were the hope of tomorrow the only one that could change the world that was born from the blood of the innocents and not even death could convince them to stop their fight for a better Congo.

They did not die for a lost cause; the parliament could not revise the constitution. But it was not the end of the fight. The king was still on his throne and still is until this day.



“Those children, on the streets, are thieves.”

“ They deserve to get arrested and never see the light of the day again; it is their fault what is happening to them,” said the mother of a friend.

But they are not all responsible, they are the victims of the church and the superstition present in congo.

“No they have bad spirit and are always looking for troubles, it is their fault if people dislike them,

They behave like animals”

school , if his mother had thrown him out of the house because he was presumably a demon in disguise, eating from the depths of his family soul the little happiness they had. Or was it the fault of Amani, a ten-years-old who walked every day, without shoes, on the streets of Kitambo deprived of a place to go because her father had raped her while her mom was lying to herself that the abomination occurring under her roof was a sick game of a maleficent child.

They told me their stories in front of my school, each day coming to ask me for 500 FC, not enough to survive, but at least to stop the hurt of hunger for a day. “Sorcerer-child” was the name given to those kids by the churches which were born in the backyards of simple houses. They were the victims of the world where churches gave the right to throw a child on the street without feeling any remorse, confirming to the parents that the source of their acute distress was their children.

“Yesterday in my dreams, God gave me a revelation. There is a child sorcerer in the church who is planning to kill his father. I not sure who is the child, therefore, We must exorcise all the children of the church. The devil is looking for fragile souls to destroy your families and the house of God”

” said the member of the church

“I’m exorcising the evil that lies within you.” said a pastor, touching the head of a five-year-old boy.

When a child becomes an excuse for all the suffering of family’s lives, life has lost all its sense.


It is Valentine’s Day; the shops have decorated their facades with painted roses and hearts. Inside the store, are chocolates, perfumes, jewelry, and teddy bears to offer to the one you love.

Text message from Vicky:

“Hey Indra I have a party tomorrow do you want to come”

“Of course, you need to black and red outfit ”

“Ok, no problem I will be there” I replied

I need to buy new things and get a haircut.

I need to go to the hairdresser now and after I could look for an outfit.


Vanessa was calling me.


“Hey Indra come to Bellisima I am already there”

‘Alright, I am coming soon.”

I don’t have to take the car; it is not far from the hairdresser.

“Don’t forget about the 20 dollars for the gas we only have a little left?” said the Driver from the parking lot of the hairdresser salon.

While I was walking, I saw this young boy begging for money. The boy was maybe 13 years old, and his face was filled with scars on his cheeks, as well as on his forehead, and even the back of his head. They seem to be caused by a fine blade of a knife as if the boy had been the victim of a malicious torture. His clothes were destroyed by the harsh reality of living and sleeping constantly on the dirt of the street. holes everywhere on his shirt, which the original blue color was almost unrecognizable. He looked drugged and not completely aware of reality, walking like a drunk dancing with himself. He was another child trying to forget about the pain of a life, which was perceived as worthless by the large majority of the population, using the fume of weed as a road toward another universe.

I am hungry. I want to buy bread,” he said to me

“Wait…” I said.

“There you go its 1500 FC “ I respond

“Thank you, mama, may God bless you.’

Finally, the shop, let’s look for Vanessa

“You’re finally here,” said Vanessa.

who asks me for money. He looked drugged.”

“Did he do something to you?”

“No, don’t worry.”

In the shop, while I was looking at the jewelry, I saw a beautiful bracelet with little roses shapes as a design. I bought it and wore it instantly, remembering one I had a long time ago. After an hour looking at various dresses and high heels, my friend and I went out of the boutique holding bags and bags of clothes, talking about the red and black party we could not wait to attend. I need to pay for the gas. I should hold the 20 dollars in my hand to give it to the driver.

hungry” said Vanessa.

to go to the Indian restaurants”

wait, let’s call her” I said

“Hey Mathilde,”

out,” Matilde screamed out.


I realized that the same boy to whom I had given the 1500 FC had his hands on my wrist pressing it so I would open my hand and let the money fall on the ground. The boy had grabbed my wrist so strongly that the bracelet broke and fell. I don’t know how but I had enough strength to keep my hand closed.

“After I gave you money, this is how you repay me?” I screamed.

The boy froze but quickly snapped out of his shocked trance. For an instant, he was looking at me as if he could not understand the meaning of my words; he started running as if I was threatening to take his life. I can still remember the absurdity of this scene contemplating the silhouette of that young boy running so quickly that he seemed to be the victim looking for a place to hide.

“Are you ok?” asked Mathilde .

“Yes, don’t worry; I am ok.”

“Where is he?”

“He left, don’t worry; he’s gone.”


It’s Sunday, and there are fewer cars on the streets, no traffic today, it is the day of God, and the masses are all going to venerate him and let their frustrations disappear. The churches are everywhere.

In the empty streets, bells are ringing, and people are singing. But the most interesting ones are the revivalist churches.

pseudo church full of white chairs and covered by a tent large enough to welcome hundreds and hundreds of people every day. Those churches were created by men who woke up one morning with a dream coming from God, a “divine apparition,” revealing to them the uniqueness of their existences.

“God had revealed to me the secret to entering paradise.” these men would say.

“Follow me, and God will save your soul.”

“Amen,” said the members of the church.


One day, I decided to go to one of those revivalist churches with Mary, my cousin. She was a beautiful tall girl that inspired desires in all the men who dared set eyes on her figure. But she was more than a beautiful girl. Mary was brave enough to survive on her own. In Congo, she was perceived as the fruit of “fornication” a shame that you could never wish on your worst enemy. Indeed, Mary’s parents had her when they were very young, bringing shame on their families; she was the ultimate sin " a child before marriage. For years, they all perceived her as a bastard, a pity that needed to be dissimulated to the eyes of others, but time and love of God had saved her from the disgrace of the judgmental eyes.

Since the age of nine, Mary was living without her mother and never knew her father. Her mother had left for France in the quest for a better life, leaving Mary with her aunt, Tantine Solange was a woman who praised God every day, asking for the glory she thought she deserved. But how could her words deserve to be heard by God when she was treating her niece as a vulgar maid?

“Go find a man who will take care of you and your studies,”

” said Tantine Solange.

“Don’t count on me for your school. Ask your Mom” She added.

In desperation, Mary turned to God and the church to find hope and a family. She started going to church every day, praying to God to make her life better,

asked to God in her prayers.

I was intrigued by her love for God; I never believed in the hypocrisy of those pretending to adore the Son of God while treating the children of the creator as mere pawns of a chess game. However, I wanted to see her world, Look at its beauty and look at its flaw, so I could understand Mary and the place which had saved her from the darkness. She found the light in herself and in those people who were her new family and wanted to find the light as well.

“Mary let’s go to the new church near my house tomorrow,” I said.

“Oh, you want to go to church now Wow! What is happening? Ok, let’s do it tomorrow.” said Mary.

“ I know, I know, but I want to see what it is like to pray in a revivalist church, I always went to Catholic churches and I want to see the difference,”

“ At what time is the ceremony?” I said.

“It’s at 8 am, But I don’t know this church so it is probably different than the big one where I usually go,”

“It’s ok, I just want to see ” I replied.

The revivalist church, near my house, was an unachieved edifice, looking more like an entrepot than an actual church. Inside, there were plastic chairs aligned horizontally in front of a large stage with microphones. There was a big black cross on the wall behind the stage, the ceiling was unfinished, and you could see the sky from the inside. But at least the heat could not have killed us.

When I first arrived the rhythmic atmosphere seduced me. I saw a place full of life where hundreds of people were dancing together for the glory of God, clapping their hands to welcome the newcomers in the sanctuary. They were all dressed in their most beautiful clothes, singing in front of whom they believed was a prophet sent by God. Pastor Ndombasi was a burly man in his 60s, wearing a dark black suit, a Bible in his right hand and the strength of his voice could inspire anyone to change the course of his life.

“God is everything, and everything is God,” he said

“Amen,” they screamed

“I am asking for the new members to stand up and let’s welcome them with a round of applause.”

I did not stand up I am too shy for that.

“Now, it is time to call the Holy ghost among us.”

As soon as those words were of his mouth, what had appeared to be conventional religious practice ranged in an entirely different direction. I was disturbed by what seemed to be pure madness. People were in trances moving frenetically in a back and forth motion as if they were all under the effect of an illicit substance. The whole church started to cry, sing, and speak in tongues " the Holy language that only the Holy Spirit could give you the power to talk.



My eyes were traveling from the first line to the last one, looking unbelievably to mothers falling on the ground and children imitating their father’s vocal emissions of what appeared to me as pure gibberish. The pastor started touching the foreheads of the people before they began to tremble and fall as if their blood was turning into ice.

Only two individuals remained immobile. I discreetly fixed upon them, not really sure why, but I was captivated by their Holy silence. The man was in his 30s and was constantly looking at the pastor as if he was hoping to get his attention. Next to him was a five-year-old girl who looked undisturbed by the cacophonic sounds around her. Was he waiting for the pastor to come and touch his little girl? She was sitting in one of the white plastic chairs; an old blanket was covering her body. She appeared so thin and fragile that he had to hold her in his arms repetitively during the whole ceremony.

When the prayers ended, the man seemed disappointed he was not capable of attracting the attention of the pastor and just sat on the chair, holding her with a posture that reminded me of the famous Michelangelo sculpture, the Pieta.

After an hour the ceremony ended, and people were going through the motion of saluting each other with the idea to talk about those who had missed the sacred duty of all men(Church).

“Did you see Miss Tumba last time? She had this big ring that her husband gave her? He is in the government now.“

“She is cheating on her husband, I am sure, she is a nasty woman.”

I was passing through the chattering hypocrisy, looking at individuals who were apparently the incarnation of angels but real demons on your back. I was outraged by so many lies and rumors defiling in the “house of God” that I could not wait to get out of that place. When I reached the open door of the church, I was close enough to hear the pastor talking to the desperate father I had noticed earlier.

“Papa pastor, my daughter, is sick, and I do not have the money to go to the hospital. Could you pray for her so the Holy Spirit can cure her?”

“Of course, my son,” said the pastor.

“ But you need to give some money to the church so that we can grow, and God can hear your prayers.” said the pastor.

“Papa pastor, I have 50 Dollars. It is all I have, but I know you have the power of God in you.”

“Let’s go in the back so that we can pray for you, little girl.” said the pastor.

“Thank you, Papa pastor, may God bless you,” said the man with a big smile on his face.

I never knew what happened to the little girl; I supposed that they prayed for her all night long so God could save her. Concerning myself, I never went to that church again in my life.


It was early June of 2012, a happy time for all of all senior students of the Congo. Finally, it was the end of a chapter and the beginning of another in our lives. We were young adults eager to taste the forbidden fruit of reality. It’s graduation day; it’s the end of high school. It is over; it is time to move on.

There were People everywhere on the streets of Kinshasa, playing games with baby powder, throwing it to their mothers, fathers, cousins, brothers and sisters, all celebrating together the success of the children of the Congo. ( It was our little tradition, each time you succeed you had the right to throw baby powder to anyone that you knew or not. )

From my car window, coming from the graduation ceremony, I heard music combined with the sounds of the streets adding joy to the chaotic noise of traffic. In the little bars of each street, people were playing Koffi’s famous song “Sima ekoli on their small radios, dancing as if tomorrow would have never come. On the streets of the capital, Mamas, dressed with the traditional liputa, who usually were models of distinction, were crying tears of pride seeing their children’s first real accomplishment. Young people were wiping tears from the eyes of the ones who did not succeed, reminding them that failure was a chance to show greatness. One man was telling his son how proud he had made their family, and for the first time, cried in front of him without fearing to appear weak.

The day of my graduation, I ended up looking as white as a ghost. My hair covered with baby powder. A smile on my face.


© Copyright 2020 indrina. All rights reserved.

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