DR Congo

Using hip hop to fight violence in Congo

No one cares what you think.

If you’re a street child in Kinshasa, the best you can hope for is that people ignore you. It’s preferable to the regular violence and abuse. That’s exactly why street children need to get their voices heard by the people whose responsibility it is to protect them.

A microphone can amplify those voices. And through the power of hip hop and they can be heard across a whole country.

We’ve been working with Congolese hip hop artist Didjak Munya to help children and young people have their say.

Rap battles

The story starts in Kinshasa with those street children – and some ‘8 Mile’ style rap battles that gave them the chance to express themselves and to talk about what life is like on the streets.

In the studio

We took some of the talented young rappers into the studio with Didjak to write and record a couple of new tracks. ‘Un jour’ is about the life of the street kids and their hope that ‘One day’ their lives will change. ‘Code de Loi’ is about the Child Protection law that had recently been passed in Congo. The song is played on the biggest radio station in Kinshasa.

In the City of Hope

Next we went with Didjak to our ‘City of Hope’ project on the outskirts of Kinshasa. There he worked with some of the girls to write two more new songs. One raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, and the other about sexual violence. We also made videos of these and the songs were shown on local TV as well as the radio.

In Goma

Didjak flew across the country to Goma to work with some of the girls in our Maison Marguerite home. They recorded two songs and Didjak helped judge a competition we ran among the schools in Goma.

Back in Kinshasa

We’re working with Didjak at our new project in Kinshasa. He’s helping to educate the local street boys about the wrongs of sexual violence. Our research shows that they are the biggest perpetrators of rape and sexual violence against the street girls we’re working with.

Didjak in his own words:

What are the kids like to work with?

It is a very interesting and emotional experience. Making a positive change to the mood of the children – to see them smile and develop their confidence – it’s beautiful.

Why is hip-hop a good tool for spreading our message?

Hip hop is a good way to get our message across because it's music that is enjoyed by young people around the world, and especially in Africa. With the power of hip hop we can transmit those messages and awareness among the people who are destroying the future of the children.

What message would to give to the world about children in Congo?

I want the world to know that the children of Congo are just like any other children - they have the right to life, education, health and happiness. They deserve to live in love and joy.