Ange was a Young Reporter until 2004. In this article, he looks back on this experience which he deems so precious that he became a supervisor for today’s generation of Young Reporters of Matadi, a town in Kongo Central province, western Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On top of that, he is a successful journalist!
Born February 12, 1986 in Kwilu-Ngongo, a town located 180 km from Kinshasa in the province of Central Kongo (also known as Bas Congo), I am the second son of a family of five children, four boys and one girl.
I did my early schooling at Kinzolani Primary School in Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Kwilu-Ngongo from 1991 to 1997, and my secondary education at the Petit Séminaire in Kibula from 1999 to 2004.
I then moved to the city of Matadi to continue my studies at the Ramazani Institute, an Islamic school where I was state-certified in the commercial and administrative department in 2008, at the age of 22 years.
When I was 15, my father was let go from the company where he worked. During this period, the economic and social life of the family became very precarious, so much so that I was taken in by my maternal grandfather.
Unfortunately, after the death of my grandfather in 2004, when I was 18, I was accused of witchcraft by the other family members who did not want me to inherit my grandfather’s property, and I had to leave the house.
This accusation came out of a dream of my grandfather’s second wife, my own grandmother having died earlier. I was for her an inconvenient witness because at the time of my grandfather’s death, she had presented a fake will, and she knew that I knew the truth about it. She used this trick to distance me.
Against my will I became one of the street children, a “Shegue” or “sorcerer child,” experiencing all the atrocities of life in the street.
My parents were unhappy with this accusation of witchcraft by my grandfather’s second wife. Despite their financial difficulties they welcomed me home, although they were not able to support my studies. They are good people who gave me a little money to finance my education. Note that I had left our home because of my parents’ financial difficulties and not because of some other problem.
In 2007, my school chose me to be part of a group of students advocating for children’s rights, an initiative by the Provincial Division of Gender, Family and Children (GEFAE) in collaboration with the Matadi UNICEF office with provincial MPs in the 2006 legislative primary.
Thus I became a Young Reporter, part of the first generation of the Kongo Central Province Young Reporters.
At the end of 2006, I benefited from peer training on the theme “Teenagers on STI-HIV/AIDS and other reproductive health issues through life skills development.” As a peer-educator myself, I was trained to educate other young people my age on this specific issue.
In my capacity as Young Reporter, I participated in several children’s rights initiatives. These experiences inspired me to become a journalist. Since I could not attend a formal university journalism program, I opted for on-the-job training.
Thus I became a host on a show about the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to the RTNC (Congolese National Radio and Television) in 2008 and, in 2009, I appeared on diocesan radio Matadi/Kukiele (TDGR) doing children’s programming.
At first I hosted the “Budding Geniuses” radio programme, mainly focused on children’s rights, then I started presenting the program “Listening to schoolchildren” during which children develop a theme and then debate other children.
Eight years later, I am currently a producer-journalist specializing in children’s rights and responsibilities and other societal issues.
Out of gratitude to the Provincial Division of the GEFAE, I became a mentor to the Kongo Central Young Reporters.
I am also a member and Secretary of the Child-Friendly Journalists Association (EAJA). The EAJA follows child-related activities, especially as regards their rights. Our vision is to develop the same theme in all channels in regard to children’s rights.
I encourage young children in schools and other youth associations to contribute to the promotion of children’s rights and responsibilities and to initiate activities for children in difficulty in Kongo Central, DRC, Africa, and the world.© UNICEF DRC/2013/Adrien Majourel
Kindly translated from French by Lori Sanders
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