Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Congo: Two Stories, Two Lives


click cc for subtitles
fisttap afroeurope & tomdevriendt

Roland Gust was born to a Congolese mother and a Belgian father. He grew up in Congo, believing he was White. That is, until his family decided to return to Belgium when he was twelve. Twenty years later, he made a film about his life: The Belgian Colour Bar.

As long as I kept it to myself, there was no problem. Not for the outer world, that is. I remained Roland, the perfectly integrated coloured. I didn’t want to come across as a frustrated black man who was ungrateful for what Belgium offered him. I didn’t want to be expelled after so many years of trying, because I was begging for a recognition of my Belgian identity. I had to serve Belgium and remain silent.After all those years of absolute and blind dedication to the country of Belgium I have now crowned myself a Belgian. I have earned my place in Belgium and no longer need the Belgian’s approval to be a Belgian. As a Belgian I make use of my freedom of speech to tell my Belgian story. I no longer lie awake about the potential repercussions following my critical discourse about Belgium and the Belgian identity.

- From 5 Questions for Roland Gust by Tom Devriendt from Africa is a Country - The Belgian Color Bar



fisttap @telamigo (tomdevriendt)
Kwa Heri Mandima (kwaheri means goodbye in Swahili and Mandima is a village/growth point in DRC) by Robert Jan-Lacombe is a short, biographical exploration of his early life in the Congo. He never expected to say goodbye, but conflict made it so. Like The Color Bar above, this film explores similar issues of identity, belonging and non-belonging, race, memory, migration and displacement, albeit from a different perspective. It provides a good juxtaposition.

2 comments:

Kunline said...

I love your post!!! Two stories with common struggles and similar identity issues. It is hard to accept that you belong even if you are different while keeping in mind that you might not always belong. However it is a beautiful gift...sometimes painful but priceless.
Thank you for sharing!!

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