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Theatre and Photography as New Contentious Repertoires of Congolese Women in the Diaspora

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Towards Another Politics of Representation of Rape

image of African Diaspora

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and in particular the eastern part of the country, is characterized by a protracted conflict situation and is home to some of the world’s most horrific documented cases of sexual violence against women. For many years now Congolese women in the diaspora have been engaged in initiatives to raise awareness of the sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) of Congolese women back home, addressing the root causes of the conflict and promoting specific peace and conflict resolutions. This article examines ways of protesting using art as a political tool in addressing SGBV in the DRC. In doing so, it highlights two politico-artistic projects by Congolese women activists living in Belgium: Hearth of a mother, a theatre piece and Stand up my mother, a photographic exhibition. This article aims to analyse these particular projects in terms of Tilly’s ‘repertoires of contention’ (2006) as used by activists of the Congolese diaspora in order to make their voices heard.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oxford


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