4 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: Being One At a Kinshasa Comedy Club

Not really what I expect from my visit to Kinshasa. While the whole world is talking about a new war in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, young people in the capital are making jokes about it.

I'm at the brand-new studios of B-One TV. This is a project of former Congolese ambassador to Belgium Jean-Pierre Mutamba, a man close to DRC President Joseph Kabila Kabongo.

'On est ensemble' ('We are united') is the network slogan and surely it sounds like a dream to young people living in this country divided by war and fraught with suspicion between different ethnic groups.

Here at B-One, I'm surrounded by the coolest-of-cool comedians, a very handsome presenter with long hair and lots of boys and girls laughing aloud. One of the comedians imitates President Kabila, trying to chase the M23 rebels out of the country. "I won't lose this war. I'll bring you victory," he proclaims.

This B-One show is great fun. Great fun, that is, until a very funny guy suddenly drags me onstage. He pushes a big microphone right in my face, and huge cameras follow me. I stop laughing. "Ergh, I'm not funny," I muster.

Music fills the silence and the comedian starts trying to get me to dance, which I can't. This makes me look even more pitiful. Guess the editors will cut me out of the show? Wishful thinking. I screw up my only chance to become famous in the DRC!

Here in Kinshasa, many who support the opposition say that state television-broadcast programmes - such as gospel and comedy - impose silence on this country by turning the citizens into fools. They point out that the Kinois, the inhabitants of Kinshasa, are throwing parties instead of a revolution.

I have to admit, we were laughing like crazy at B-One.

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