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Rap for Peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa
un articulo por La Vie: Lettres d'Afrique, blog (abridged)

It is through rap that thousands of young people gathered in Goma for a festival of peace .

One of the artists at the Goma Festival

click on photo to enlarge

Back in November 2012, the city of Goma (DRC , North Kivu ) was overrun by the M23 rebels and last year it was bombed by the same forces whose foreign support is known. At that time there was total panic. But today, thousands of young people in search of peace invaded Goma to listen to their favorite rappers like Lokua Kanza, Lexxus Legal and Innocent Balume , etc. as well as others who were anonymous.

The Festival of Music and Dance Amani (meaning peace) was held at the Foyer Culturel de Goma, February 14 to 16. Thousands of young people of different nationalities and ethnic groups expressed their will to build peace together. 700 volunteers prepared the festival under the leadership of its initiator, Eric Motte. It took a lot of determination; scheduled originally for last year, it had to be postponed because of the war. Coming from those countries whose governments are accused by the UN of complicity with the rebels, the young people joined with Congolese to express that they are fed up with war and violence, which have been maintained by impunity and local complicity . The festival was supported by the UN Blue Helmets and sponsored by the wife of the President of the Republic.

The promoter of the festival explained: "Young people are the basis for the organization of this event. These young people have never known peace. They are 20 to 25 years old, and they dream of a change of circumstances in which the 20 million people of Kivu can experience socio-economic development and that requires peace," On the eve of the festival, he added: " Our hope is this festival becomes a means of reconciliation between peoples. The realization of such a festival in Goma, open to all residents of the Great Lakes region, bringing together international artists but also those representing different ethnic groups in the region, will be a unifying element of peace, reconciliation and will attract international attention to a beautiful area where the people, mostly young, have sacrificed far too long."

A declaration of peace was offered to participants who signed en masse:

An excerpt said: "Our generation has not known peace. This must change. We sing for peace because it is our only hope. North Kivu and our people have never desired it so much. We therefore call for a solemn peace supported by everyone, and for the interest of the common good to be the top priority of all our actions. Everyone must contribute. Indeed, it is only together, united, that peace will return as a living and dynamic reality, as the source of hope and development. Together today from across all borders, we call for peace. We make this solemn and vibrant appeal that our cry, our hope for a better future, should be heard everywhere, understood and followed up with action. Long live peace!" .

(Click here for a French version of this article)


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What place does music have in the peace movement?,

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As of now, there are 33 CPNN articles on this theme, which shows the great extent to which music is the universal language of peace!

Este artículo ha sido publicado on line el March 23, 2014.