One of the most resource rich countries in Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been ravaged by over 20 years of civil instability and its vulnerable people are the ones who suffer the most.
In the first five minutes of Daniel McCabe’s This is Congo you are given a frightening glimpse into the sights and sound of civil war and this sets the stage for the rest of the film. The threat of war is everywhere, from the 50 plus armed groups vying for control over areas rich in gold, diamonds and other minerals, to the feared Rwanda-Ugandan backed M23 rebels who are well armed and move through the country with impunity.
The rebels all share one thing in common: they’re united in their mission to overthrow the Kabila government whom they see as corrupt and siphoning away the potential of the country for their own material gain. But is this a recent issue for the DRC? McCabe’s use of archival footage illuminates the path that the country has found itself on, willingly or not.
McCabe’s focus on the four characters that he has chosen – a National Army Colonel, a high-ranking army officer, a mineral dealer, and a tailor – shows the impact of living in a country that is constantly at war with itself.
This is Congo is as harrowing as it is beautifully shot. The frontline footage is confronting but so is the story of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it’s one that needs to be told.