Pop R&B singer Blandine to perform at fourth annual DR Congo conference

book coverJudith Wanga, the subject of the BBC documentary The World’s Most Dangerous Place for Women, is one of the speakers at the fourth annual How Much Do You Know About the DR Congo? conference Saturday at York.

Organized by Barbro Ciakudia, a York International Bachelor of Arts student, and her sister Nancy-Josée Ciakudia (BA ’08), the conference will take place Saturday, March 26, from 1 to 5pm, in the Junior Common Room, 014 McLaughlin College, Keele campus. Admission is $5 for students and $10 for adults.

In addition to speakers, there will be dance, art and musical performers, including Canadian pop R&B singer/songwriter Blandine, who was born in the Democratic Republic of  Congo and raised in Canada.

Wanga was also born in the Congo, but her parents, concerned with the rising violence in the country, sent her and her sister to London to live with an uncle.

Judith Wanga from the BBC documentary The World’s Most Dangerous Place for WomenLeft: Judith Wanga from the BBC documentary The World’s Most Dangerous Place for Women

The BBC documentary captures her return to the Congo to meet her parents for the first time in 20 years, as well as many of the victims who had survived the violence, including women and children.

Over one million women have been sexually violated in the ongoing struggle for control over the country’s rich mineral and natural resources, according to international aid officials. Some 45,000 people have died every month in the Congo – five million since 1996 – and rape is used as a weapon.

Above: The fourth annual How Much do you Know about the DR Congo hopes to make people aware of the atrocities that take place in the country

Also speaking this year is Claus Molitor, an associate situation analyst with the International Criminal Court, and Kambale Musavuli, a spokesperson and student coordinator of Friends of the Congo.

 Barbro (left) and Nancy-Josée CiakudiaRight: Barbro (left) and Nancy-Josée Ciakudia

Musavuli has spoken to university students, elected officials, religious groups and community organizers in North America and Africa to garner support for the Congolese. His ultimate aim is to mobilize the global community to help bring an end to the conflict in the Congo and provide support to the people as they strive to control their enormous natural wealth and build lasting peace and stability in the heart of Africa.

The Ciakudia sisters hope to raise awareness about the atrocities in the Congo and let people know they can do something to stop them.

The conference is hosted by H2OCongo, a non-governmental organization started by the Ciakudia sisters which works to bring about human rights in the Congo, and York’s Centre for Human Rights.

Above: Nancy-Josee Ciakudia performing a song she wrote about the Congo

For more information, visit the Centre for Human Rights website.