A few days ago I spoke to my dear
friend native from Congo
now residing in South Africa as a refugee. (He had to flee from the
horrors of the war in his country in 1995.
I posed the question:
Why can't the Congolese people resolve political conflict through
dialogue instead of waging war for decades?
Our people are so poor; least we can afford arms and ammunition. The
United Nations placed a ban on arms coming into our country, yet on
a daily basis new arms coming from foreign countries including the west
are used to kill our people.
No one will ever know
who are behind the supply of arms. Some Individuals/groups (foreigners)
claim they are "protecting their interest" in the region. In the meantime my people are dying like flies. How can the
rest of the world sit, watch and do nothing?
It seems that quite a
few small groups or individuals from other parts of the world are
fuelling the war to destabilize the region. I wish that God never
blessed our beloved country with an abundance of oil and
minerals.......maybe then we would still be living in peace, and I would
have been at home with my family and all the loved ones I forcibly left
home of the famous Dan
tribe, the villagers and artist alike have to work whilst gun
battles rage on their doorstep. I had the opportunity of watching on local
television a documentary of boy soldiers and young men fighting to liberate their
people. The documentary covered the daily lives of the village people.
specific incident that will remain with me forever is the footage of the
so-called "rebels" that captured one of the enemy forces
recruited in Sierra
Leone. He was gunned down after his capture, and with-in seconds his
body turned a grayish color. The "rebels" cut out his heart
and roasted it over a fire, each of them including the boy soldiers ate a piece of the victims roasted heart. They believed that eating the
heart of the enemy would provide them with new strength and long life to
defend their cause.
When I view and hold these fine pieces
of art in my hand, it feels that at any moment tears will stream from
the eyes of the mask or figure......each piece therefore has a special
place in my heart. An expression of true art and sheer
brilliance, especially if one consider the appalling conditions under
which the artist have to work.
Here in Africa idle hands lead men
to war. Occupy the mind and dormant talent will ooze through the
creative mind and hands of the people.
For the past few months the South
African government is acting as chief negotiator in a peace settlement
in the region, everybody seems to be optimistic that peace will prevail.